Libraries Commission

DaDaFest, in partnership with Cultural Hubs, are looking to commission a digital project by a d/Deaf or disabled artist, or disabled-led companies, responding to the idea of a public lending library.  A commons of ideas and connections.  This commission will sit alongside the four large Festival Commissions being presented in late November 2020, and comes with a production budget of £2,500.

Cultural Hubs, an Arts in Libraries project, is a National Portfolio Organisation that works across the St Helens Borough through our public libraries.  They are a part of the St Helens Borough Council and produce, programme and commission works which connect people across the borough and the world.

Cultural Hubs says:

'We see the library as a communal public space open to everyone, a space where there is no agenda to push you to buy, believe or subscribe. Instead it should be a facility to discover, to meet, to learn and to be part of communal public space.  We believe in the power of books and discovery to change our world, and nurture the moments of compassion and excitement we find there.  We see the creative projects we produce as another part of the way we can change the world, unfolding from these library spaces.'

This partnership seeks to commission a project which harmonises with some of the ideas above, under the theme of the library.  Perhaps considering the idea of a creative commons, of a neutral public space, of building worlds from the words of others to explore.  You could be inspired by history – the world changing libraries of Baghdad, Timbuktu and Alexandria. Or perhaps libraries in literature – imagined by Luis Borges as an infinite repository or by Ray Bradbury as people committing texts to memory to save them. We would like you to find your inspiration in libraries.

Right now work continues to safely open library buildings back up to the public, and it's not a straightforward journey - we don't know when groups will be allowed in, or what resources will be available. So we need to stay open and in conversation about how or what can be presented. For this reason, we'd rather ask for a digital project – but we’re open to ideas.

As a part of the commission, you are invited to programme a public event in one of the libraries - when it’s safe to do so.  This means it may be during DaDaFest 2020, or could be in Spring 2021.  It’s at a time which works for all of us.  We are keen to keep an aspect of public events in our commissioning.  This is a very broad remit; an artist Q&A, presentation of research, a performance, conversation or accompanying material would all be an interesting proposal.  This is a subsidiary to the digital commission, and Cultural Hubs can support thinking and development of this event.

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