Archives For The Future

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I’m not a grown-up. I don’t have a house, or a full-time 9-5. I don’t even drink tea of coffee. In my driving lesson this morning, on my fourth attempt to perform a passable parallel park, I distinctly heard myself whine ‘I’m BORED!’, whilst clumsily ramming the vehicle into reverse and speeding it inaccurately towards the curb. It was the exact tone I used when I was fifteen, faced with a page of algebraic equations and a very slow-ticking clock. Six years on, and it still doesn’t take much to metaphorically sit me right back down in one of those red plastic chairs at the back of my GCSE maths classroom.

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Kerry + Amy illustrated by Reiss Hesson

Today we moved back into our FEED studios in Millenium Point, and carried on re-drafting and adding final touches to the articles.

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Beautiful Illustration by the fabulous Reiss Hesson



Date: 9th July 2013 – Second day of the summer school.

All of a sudden the unveiling of the library is looming closely over us, what felt like months and months away has whittled its way down to only 55 days. And this calls for our team to get under away with articles and designing for our Brochure. In our eyes this is the first day of ‘proper work’ for us all. We have gone through and completed our preparation of talks and culture sector meet ups, which gave us our foundation, but this is now the real thing!

So today went a bit like this:

10.00 AM – Arrive for a soft start

(Which then entailed us sitting in the sun for 20 minutes gossiping about the secret insight to the library tour)

10.30 AM – Morning meeting and Briefing

(Back to reality of our project and studio time, we had a detailed overview of the day before kindly given to us by Dan, this involved the articles corresponding to the writers and then the plan for the day. Then we received a beautiful typed up table of the team members corresponding to their articles and word counts that they will be writing. Furthermore, we met our very own professional graphic designer who will be assisting us for the course of the summer school and the brochure. Keith has been extremely helpful in assisting us with our query’s involving word counts but the most important thing that he has brought to the table was his prospective layout designs, as these are only drafts it is still unsure as to what the final will look like, but I can assure you that they are admirable. He also gave his opinions and ideas on the style of the brochure and the type sizing and fonts itself.)

11.00 AM – Work time!

(The team split of into two groups; creative/journalists to work on the tasks for today. The Journalist got stuck down with their articles as tomorrow they have a deadline to hand in a first draft. This involved the research behind the piece and additional confrontation with Kerry and Amy and then heads went down in Word to create their glorious read.

The creative’s had a chat with Keith as to what will be needed for him as of next time we meet and ideas that we could work on. His feedback was that we could incorporate our own illustrations to go with the journalist’s articles as well as drafting out ideas for the front cover. After they got that knowledge it was a group discussion about what illustrations will be needed for each article and pinpointing individuals to correspond to that. Next the agenda was the front cover, this is a big deal as it will dictate who is going to essentially pick up the brochure. This called for one thing – a mood board! Some of the ideas generated as to how we approach the design was; bold colours, hand rendered designs, reference to the library, the library pattern, discovery theme and appealing to senses. Then Ta-Da we all got to work.

1.00 PM  – Lunch time!

An enhancing 45 minutes of siting in the sunshine and having a few odd footballs landing in our circle.

1.45 PM -  Back to work!

Arriving back from our refreshing break, we immediately got our thinking heads on and got back to work. From the Journalists perspective this involved more drafting of a chosen article and editing, and from the creative perspective it involved drafting illustrations and front cover ideas. The afternoon went well and we completed the tasks given.

3.30 PM – Debriefing!

Collectively we gathered around the table and evaluated our working day, it was apparent that we all managed to get through a lot of work. Then Dan gave a quick speech on what was needed for tomorrow!

4.00 PM – Home time!

And we’re off.

The summer school of production for our Discovery Season Festival Brochure kicked off with a bang today. A massive bang. A large gold box full of books kind of bang. Feeling very important, with our notebooks, cameras and name badges, the Birmingham 2022 team headed off to the Library of Birmingham this morning for a preview of the brilliance that is to come.


Caitlin Griffiths of Capsule kindly showed us around the building, and boy is Birmingham in for a treat. All still a bit hush hush for now with the exciting things that are happening on the inside, but what’s the harm in talking about the outside?

My biggest joy of driving into work right now is the moment when you twirl around Spaghetti Junction, off the M6 and you have that first view of Birmingham soil, and its skyline. Now with the newest addition being the Library, I am looking forward to it becoming as iconic as the other buildings around Brum such as the Bull and Selfridges. Soon enough the Library will be that image that people think of when they think of Birmingham.

For a building that resembles a large square box, it is actually a lot taller than you would think, and the views are absolutely amazing. As in, like really breathtaking. I had never seen Birmingham look so good. As we were standing out on the terrace today, sunning ourselves on the wooden bench areas, amongst the flowers and the panoramic city views, I felt like I had paid to be at the top of the Empire State Building, but getting more value for money. Obviously there are no rushes of people (yet) but the terraces are an attraction in itself. Yes plural. One at the front, and one at the back. Just so you can view every inch of Brumminess.

We did spend some time in the Library, looking at what goes where, and talking about the art pieces that are going to be featured. So far it is all looking and sounding every bit of wonderful and I cannot wait for the doors to open on the 3rd September.

This also panics me a little, we have to go off and write about everything we saw today. Only for a few people. Only 70,000 copies are being printed. Just a few.
This afternoon consisted of a bit of a plan and deciding who is writing/designing/drawing what for the brochure. And who is talking/interviewing/chasing who. So we are all prepared(ish) and ready to go. Bring on the Production Summer School.




Words and Photography By Abbey Duckett.

Influenced by the Library of Birmingham’s mantra of ’re-writing the book’, fusing the traditional old-fashioned library space with new cultural mediums and concepts, the idea of re-writing classic novels (or at least utilising the main themes/plots) within a Birmingham setting materialised in my mind. For my first experiment, I took inspiration from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, a satirical text which focuses on a Spanish man so enamoured with chivalric tales that he himself becomes a knight, imposing his own fictional perceptions of the world on less-than-forgiving ‘sane’ society. This book choice was also important as Don Quixote itself features a main character who ‘re-writes’ himself into his beloved books of chivalry and re-fashions a new world from its existing forms and shapes, imbuing his surroundings with a unique vision. This is what I believe to be the role of the new library; to provide people with the tools and inspirations to alter their own lives, use their imagination, realise their own creative potential and to be the main character in the epic saga of their own lives. So, without further ado, I present my first part… Continue Reading…