A really exciting project my brother is working on with Bedford Creative Arts:
What’s happening down at your local library? If you’re in Central Bedfordshire it might not be what you expect.
Libraries are a stockpile of knowledge and local history, but with more people accessing information online, how can the library of the future thrive?
Last year, Central Bedfordshire Council Libraries, in partnership with Bedford Creative Arts, won Arts Council England funding to commission eight artists to imagine the possibilities. Following community and library service consultation the result is the Library as Laboratory project and, over the coming months, the artists will be working across Central Bedfordshire to develop three new art commissions that invite people to work with them to explore ideas around the library of the future.
The first of these – Dump it on Parliament Revisited – will look at the role of libraries as custodians of local history, by creating a new living history artwork using the backdrop of Bedfordshire’s well-known post-punk music scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Three of the artists, Dash MacDonald, Demitrios Kargotis and Roshi Nasehi were inspired by the story of the local post-punk musicians and bands who were galvanized into action against the government’s plans to create a new nuclear waste site at Elstow, Bedfordshire. The bands protested by creating the well-known ‘Dump it on Parliament’ compilation tape in support of the B.A.N.D (Bedfordshire Against Nuclear Disarmament) campaign.
“We want to engage with this rich local history and create a new conversation between the original bands, fans and young people of today,” said artist Demitrios Kargotis. Working with local bands and young people, the artists will be creating a new compilation tape, covering the original material and creating new protest songs, which will then be presented in a series of performances in late November. It will culminate in a new sound archive for the library service. There will be wide-ranging events across Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard libraries, including fanzine creation, song writing and sound workshops, film screenings and the collection of memories and memorabilia. Supporting this cross-generational dialogue is Steve Spon of UK Decay, one of the scene’s original bands, and he will be lending his experience and support in crafting this alternative history in Bedfordshire.
The second art commission will be the Future Library Festivals where two libraries – Flitwick (16-18 October 2015) and another, to be confirmed – will open from Friday evening to Sunday evening and packed with surprising activities that explore the idea of ‘business NOT as usual’. In early 2016, the third commission – Make, Do, Discover – will reflect the discovery of lost information and hidden secrets. There will be many opportunities to get involved, work with the artists, be part of the artworks, or just come along to the events and join in the fun. Ask at your local library or look on the virtual library for further information, which will be released in due course.