A fantastic addition to a festival or artistic program, I create collaborative books with curious prompts that encourage contributions. They can be adapted to suit existing themes and events. They could be integrated with workshops and bespoke activities.
The books are a great way to create a sense of community and collaboration and are accessible to all – appealing to a wide range of ability, backgrounds and ages, including children and teenagers. People can contribute on their own terms and anonymously if they wish, as little and as much as they want.
We can create a lasting legacy by developing the material into publications or extracts used on online platforms to encourage audiences to engage further: blogs, websites, social media etc. The books can be read at an event, possibly to conclude and celebrate the activity.
Contributions to the books can be created in workshops or in other formal or informal events. They can be installed in an area where the public are waiting, eating, queuing, or milling in a venue or festival area to built up contributions over a period of time. I can be on site at times to encourage and coach contributions.
Huge thanks to the participants at the Albany Arts Centre and to Patrick Rosalba for photos of the performance.
The Wordshuffle Café was a great addition to our Summer programmes at the Albany and it cleverly integrated with a range of activity and people to ensure it very much felt part of the fabric of the Café. In the first instance, Cath ran a short session with young people on our Summer Arts programme for 13-19 year olds, who continued to use the books in their break times to provide a good amount of ‘pre-fill’ before they went public. Then, we timed Cath’s roving poets with our Albany Outdoors weekend to prompt wider engagement from passers-by in the street and market. This is all in addition to the light-touch activity in the Café where regular users and visitors read or wrote in the books whilst having a cup of tea or after a meeting for example. Experience has told us that this sort of transitory participation activity in the Café is more popular than more visible efforts, and manages to draw all sorts of interest and spark other conversations. The final event in the Café was very popular and made for a nice tangible ‘close’ of the activity for those who had been part of the process. We are steadily building our Café programme with regular events and festivals and would definitely like to see more activity like The Wordshuffle Café take place. Raidene Carter, Head of Creative programmes, The Albany Arts Centre
John Hegley: The books were an inspiration for the audience and an inspired innovation by Cath – a fine display of work and playfulness. It would be great to see and hear more of them.
Comments from young people and adults on the Wordshuffle Books:
· I think they are a great idea because people can say what they want – They are Epic!! Awesome
· I wish they had these books at school.
· I love these books, please develop more because it’s just a place to escape and have fun and share with others.
· I think its really cool because whatever your age you can still go as childish as you want.
· They’re a great escape from the daily grind
· what a lovely idea, I’ve never seen anything like this before I think everyone would want to give it a go!
· It was inspiring to hear the readings from the books, thank you.