Over the past year Dawn of the Unread has done absolutely everything we can to promote reading. This has included a zombie-themed game of Mastermind for the Festival of Words, a talk at the British Library (see soundcloud link below), free talks at every school in Nottinghamshire, finding placements for 100 NTU students, a very silent protest in the form of a reading Flashmob, supporting NHS patients, and, of course, producing some sumptuous artwork in the form of our comics released on the 8th of each month.
Today we went up in that rattling Big Wheel in Market Square and gave a 12 minute literary tour of Nottingham via the buildings and locations spanning the horizon of our very wet city. We also took up a young Egyptian student called Youssef Gadallah and recorded a broadcast for his radio station Beep. This is broadcast by Nottingham Trent International College. We called our talk ‘Turning Reading Around’ because we’re exploring various ways of engaging readers by providing literature in bytesize chunks and across media platforms with the ultimate aim of directing readers to physical books. If knowledge was the aim of 20th century media, now it’s experience. We’re trying to bring readers into the conversation through the gaming element of our App and by offering numerous paths into the text.
I’m not one for heights but when it comes to promoting reading I’ll do anything. And yes, this is a challenge; so get in contact if you’d like us to do anything in particular. This latest ‘humiliation’ was in aid of a new initiative by the BBC called Get Creative, a celebration of the world-class arts, culture and creativity that happens every day across the UK. Over the course of the year the BBC will be highlighting various organisations and we desperately want to be featured because we’ve given every waking hour to Dawn of the Unread and we’re starting to get a little knackered and tired of lack of exposure from mainstream media.
The BBC has set up the project because a (conservative) estimate suggests that around ten million of us take part in a form of regular craft and activity each week. It’s a great idea and perfectly fits their remit of widening participation and promoting diversity (which by my definition means arts organisations beyond the snuggly confines of the M25). It’s hoped that the project will lead to a national conversation about the value of culture and creativity.
Dawn of the Unread is an ongoing conversation about the relationship between digital and physical books as well as an inquiry into the role of libraries in the 21st century. Our blog is open to anyone who would like to contribute to these discussions. However it is worth remembering that underpinning any conversation about art or culture is money. Without money staff lose their jobs, professionals are replaced with volunteers, buildings get sold off to supermarkets; the overall quality of ‘art’ suffers.
- Get Creative website (bbc.co.uk)
- Nottingham gets creative…and wet (nottinghamcityofliterature.com)
- Surface Gallery website (surfacegallery.org)
- Creative Quarter website (creativequarter.com)
- Cultured: To be or not to be? (leftlion.co.uk)
- NottsTV website (nottstv.com)
- City Arts website (city-arts.org.uk)
- Mouthy Poets website (mouthypoets.wordpress.com)
- Nottm Creative Fringe Arts Fair (beesmakehoneycc.com)
- NottDance Festival (dance4.co.uk)
- Nottingham Live website (nottinghamlive.co.uk)
- Dawn of the Unread Flickr (flickr.com)