Cultural takeover in Devon and Torbay libraries
Mon 27 Mar 2023
The first season of an exciting new three year programme of creative events is being rolled out by Libraries Unlimited in Devon and Torbay this spring.
The charity last year secured a £720,369 grant from Arts Council England to boost its thriving programme of music, films, workshops and high quality community events between 2023 and 2026.
With a theme of Pride of Place, the first season of events will run across three of Devon and Torbay’s libraries from April to July 2023, and will include workshops, performances, art and music.
Rae Hoole from Libraries Unlimited said: “We were so excited and delighted to secure this substantial grant from Arts Council England last year, and now we’re looking forward to beginning the first stage of the roll-out across Devon and Torbay.”
“Pride of Place is a push to connect communities through a celebration of people and where they live. We’ll be encouraging residents and visitors to come to together to be creative, discover new talents, listen to performance and music, and above all have fun!”
The events will roll out across Barnstaple, Exeter and Paignton libraries:
Flowers and plants are the theme of the Flower Power series of events in Barnstaple Library. They include:
Saturday 1st April, 12 – 2pm: A free family-friendly drop-in workshop making wildflower displays. The floral display will form part of the judges walk for this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom Festival.
Friday 28th April, 3 – 4.15pm: The Language of Flowers – cracking the code of ‘floriography’ in art, architecture, literature, mythology and etiquette.
1st April onwards: A display of work by influential psychedelic artist John Hurford.
Thursday 1st June, 10 – 12noon: Drop in family-friendly activity sowing microgreens in the library foyer and learn how you can grow amazing plants, packed with nutrition.
Friday 9th June, 10 – 1pm: Placemaking and the Power of Plants. Join local reconciliation ecologist and nature mentor Pete Yeo for a plant-focused guided walk and talk through central Barnstaple.
Saturday 15th July, Flower Power Day. Throughout the day customers can enjoy:
- A flower themed cafe in the foyer selling speciality teas & flower themed biscuits
- The foyer will be decorated with paper flowers from the Barnstaple in Bloom workshops & psychedelic flowers create by FabLab workshops
- Free drop in paper flower making craft – free for all ages
- An exhibition of early works by psychedelic artist John Hurford
In addition to this there will be a number of flower themed workshops available to book onto:
10 – 12noon: More about microgreens and edible flowers. Learn how they can be used to spice up a salad, take a cake to the next level or simply add some extra nutrition to your sandwich! Tickets £10.
10 – 11.30am: Make your own Bach Flower Remedies with Bach Practitioner Lilias Drummond. Tickets £25.
1 – 4pm: Perfume workshop, harnessing the power of plants and flowers and learn to blend a signature natural perfumes. Use your nose and learn about top, middle and base notes, with Sarah Harper, founder and owner of The Clovelly Soap Company. Tickets £35.
9.45-12.45pm or 1.30-4.30pm: Make a floral blockprint tote bag or tea towel with textile and print designer Annabel Hill. Be inspired by your favourite flowers and some Barnstaple motifs. Tickets £35.
Throughout July – Unlocking the Cage. This free innovative augmented reality installation will be available at Barnstaple library, bringing to life the captivating stories of female writers whose work lies in ‘the cage’ – a place beneath the floor of Exeter library where its special collection is housed.
Unlocking the Cage can be enjoyed alone, or in groups of up to 4 people at a time and takes approximately 28 minutes to experience in full. You are in control of your own experience, turning the pages of the book to navigate your journey.
More information about events at Barnstaple here
Wednesday 12th April, 11 – 12.30pm: The Munch Mission is a fiendishly sneaky art heist adventure which allows the audience to ‘call the shots’ about how the story unfolds. Set in the world of international art galleries, the show was inspired by real-life attempts to steal Munch’s The Scream. Tickets £8 general/£6 concession.
Saturday 15th April, 1 – 4pm: Join renowned artist Megan Dowsett on a journey to create unique ‘Tree Treasures’ using leaf printing on clay and a treasure hunt across the library. Free event.
Wednesday 17th May, 8 – 10.30pm: A concert from Three Cane Whale Concert, a multi-instrumental acoustic trio based in Bristol. Tickets £10 general/£8 concession.
Friday 16th June, 7.30 – 11pm: Library Lates is a celebration of what a library space can be – music and workshops after dark at Exeter Library. Expect creative art and literary workshops alongside live music, a silent disco, backstage tours and full bar. Tickets £8 general/£6 concession.
Saturday 15th July, 7 – 10pm: The Belshaw Band will enthral you with their unique blend of trumpet, two saxophones, two violins, cello, and piano, infused with influences from various musical genres including Baroque, rock, pop, minimalism, and jazz. Tickets £10 general/£8 concession.
More information about events at Exeter here
Friday 19th May 7.30 – 11pm: The first ever Library Late at Paignton Library, where the library comes to life after hours. The shelves are shaken with live music, a bar, creative crafts, silent disco plus much more.
More information about events at Paignton here
Other libraries across the county will be getting involved too, with a range of activities and events celebrating Pride of Place. These will include print and digital media workshops, theatre productions, and creative writing sessions.
On Wednesday 12th April, Exmouth Library will host Play Listen Learn! A creative session for families with children aged 3-10, led by performance artist and storymaker Patrice Naiambana. The session will run from 3pm-4.30pm, and explore family community enrichment through imagination and play, our voices, bodies, instruments, costumes and stories. Tickets £3, from the library or on Eventbrite.
The fantastic print studio Double Elephant will be running a number of print workshops at libraries on the following dates:
Friday 15th May: Ilfracombe Library
Friday 28th July: Exmouth Library
Monday 31st July: Kingsbridge Library
To book tickets and see full programme listings, visit librariesevolve.org.uk/events.
‘Pride of Place’ will be the first of three seasons taking place this year. In August ‘Get Creating’ will inspire creativity for all with a focus on children and young people. And in December ‘Building a Better Tomorrow’ will celebrate local action and the global environment.
The award secured Libraries Unlimited’s place as an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation (NPO). Additional funding is provided by Exeter City Council.