In the middle – now we see what we’ve got to elevate

In the middle – now we see what we’ve got to elevate

This last set of workshops have been an interesting journey across the West Midlands, across the different libraries, with the young people, Tony White and the librarians.

We are now at the stage where we really put or pull it all together and we have tried out three twenty minute sections out of the nine hours with the young people and tested two forty minute sections with the live streaming in the studio, so things are moving in the right direction.

But we have a long way to go.

We have watched each other reading, interviewed librarians, played the ukulele, discussed what it means to be judged and saved, inhabited the libraries and more.

We’ve been talking about filters through which to see the whole work and trusting processes. Throughout the last 10 days, we have witnessed a lot of hearts worn on sleeves and a lot of real bravery by the young people. For many this is the first chance to work on a big artwork and this is a strange and unnerving thing to do.

But, this is the really exciting time for us and we haven’t done anything quite like this before either.

So let’s see what happens – keep watching and don’t forget the work is live for one night only on 29th October 3pm – Midnight at

The Humument

The Humument

In 1966 Tom Phillips picked up a copy of the Victorian novel A Human Document from a thrift store, took it home then re-wrote the story completely by collaging, painting and drawing into the text. The finished book is a beautiful piece of work with brightly coloured pages and just a few words of text showing through on each page, forming short poems that give the book an entirely new meaning. He even created a new protagonist called Bill Toge whose name only appears when either ‘together’ or ‘altogether’ are printed in the original text.

Over the summer we set workshop participants the task of making their own Humuments, and you can see some of their lovely books below:

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What Exactly Did We Get Up To?

What Exactly Did We Get Up To?

Isis, one of the young people we’re working with in the West Midlands, made this fantastic video documenting what we got up to during the first workshops in Telford.


All I Have Is A Glimpse and a Set Of Hunches

All I Have Is A Glimpse and a Set Of Hunches

When we start making a work I never know exactly where it will end up, what the form will really end up being. With A Place Free Of Judgement this is no different, in fact this feels very real at the moment and all I have is a glimpse and a set of hunches, like a whiff or a hint which went past me last week for a moment and now I can see it off in the distance again.

Some significant steps in Phase 1 of the project have just happened – three workshops, a total of 6 days at Cannock Library, Telford Southwater Library and Worcester St John’s Library and a structuring day with Tony White.

There are about 30 young people in the project split across the three sites, who range from nearly 14 to 19 years of age. We spent two days with each group and have covered a lot already – how to make walking stories for another person with no script about buildings we’ve never been inside, learning how to film in different ways and how to understand how we read film, how to have more control and ability even on a camera phone.

Stories have shifted from positive into a negative ones and vice versa – finding character, the opening and ending of a story at the same time.

Now we know which library follows which and why, what role history will play in the work.

This is a take over of libraries – this is a re-imagening of spaces we know as libraries. This is a work, a story of history and archive and law and documentary information, this is a story, a work, of fiction, of the impossible, of the haunted, of the individual and the collaboration.

We are going to writing a story and making the event of that story, which will be performed and streamed for 12 hours or rather 13 hours on the night of 29th-30th October when the clocks go back an hour.

Blast Theory, Tony White and up to 45 young people aged 14-19 will present A Place Free Of Judgement, a teenage takeover of libraries.

You can be an audience in the libraries or you can take part in the audience online.

The young people will take over

And the story will be published as a book.