Maindee Library: Welcome Back/Welcome Mat

27/11/2018 | Development & Building, Community, Library

This blog post is one part of a long overdue progress report. A substantial amount of time has passed since our last update; since the library re-inhabited 79 Chepstow Road, from our temporary home at Holbrook’s, back in June.

Changes have taken place both internally and externally, and over the next few weeks I will be sharing what has been happening.

 

Refreshing Maindee: Apply Now!

28/09/2018 | Finding Maindee, New Paths, Arts, Community

Last chance to apply for our Refreshing Maindee fund.

Advertisement to apply for a creative fund from Maindee Unlimited

Maindee Library: A Quiet Place?

16/08/2018 | Finding Maindee, Arts, Community

A few weeks ago, Maindee Unlimited invited applications for a Sound Artist, or Artists, to produce a new art installation for the newly refurbished Maindee Library building, with the commissioned work to be situated and made in response to aspects of the social and cultural ecology of Maindee.

Beyond this remit, the brief was open, and our plans for the outcome equally so.

This blog post will detail the choices and decisions we made to appoint a Sound Artist. 

Maindee Library: Business As Usual

06/08/2018 | Finding Maindee, Development & Building, Community

In case you haven’t already seen, heard or wandered in… we are back in Maindee Library. 

Welcome board in the foyer of Maindee Library.

Preparing to Re-inhabit Maindee Library

25/05/2018 | Arts, Development & Building, Community, Library

Many people have found a home at Maindee Library and have missed the space during its closure. Thankfully the contractors So Exclusive will take away their tools at the start of June and the community will begin to re-inhabit Maindee Library. This blog article gives an idea of the changes that we can expect to see - such as fluted glass in the image below - and how the personal touches to this community building will be made over the summer.



Starting in June we have a range of art and design workshops - from product to interiors and mosaics - as we add personality to the space. Between 10am and 12 midday on Saturday June 2nd product designer David Henshall introduces the work to customise the library shelving system; 3pm-5pm on Monday 11 June architect George Lovesmith helps us plan flooring and fittings and on Wednesday 13 June artist Stephanie Roberts starts her library residency.


In this blog article we give you a guided tour of the spaces in the building. We connect these spaces with the opportunities to add what our art projects have found in Maindee!

Maindee Library Refresh Progress 17 May

17/05/2018 | Development & Building, Community, Library

The contract with So Exclusive reached a major milestone this week: the photo below captures the moment when the first pane of glass was placed into the roof above our meeting room.



As explained in the last blog post on 11 May, our new meeting room has been created by knocking the old toilet and boiler room through into what used to be the kitchen. We think everyone will be pleased with the personality and elegance of the small spaces in our building - especially as they used to be such dingy rooms.

This blog article gives a little bit more information on the small spaces within the library and the features that we expect to offer.

Progress for Refresh at Maindee Library

11/05/2018 | Development & Building, Community, Library

Over the past couple of months So Exclusive Developments have taken charge of the library building and made some big improvements and changes. Their focus has been on the small spaces which support the functionality of the library; the main changes to the main reading room will involve library volunteers, artists and makers and will start again in June 2018.


 

So Exclusive have now nearly finished all the work to construct and fit out the new meeting room [where the old toilet and kitchen used to be]; they have created a new kitchen space [where the old meeting room was] and made two new toilets in the space between kitchen and meeting room. To service the whole building the electrical systems have been updated, the boiler has been replaced, new radiators installed throughout and the main room has been insulated ready for the colder months.


This blog article provides some photos of the work carried out and also gives a taster of what will happen during the summer months as we go back into the building.

Responding to Toilet Debate: 3 Questions for Localities

10/11/2017 | Finding Maindee, Development & Building, Community, Learning

On Tuesday 7th November 2017 we hosted a memorable and successful seminar which started with presentations on the specifics of public toilets, but broadened out [as we had hoped] towards wider discussions about public space and social justice. To pick one message from the day is quite easy: Clara Greed said that: “We have to talk toilets because if we’re too embarrassed to talk about them then we won’t get policy right.”

Attendees at seminar

This blog article gives us a resume of the day and sets out what a small charity like Maindee Unlimited, based in a very specific locality, may be able to do to protect and provide public toilets in a place like ours. As such we will explore the following questions:  (1) how can communities organise around issues of provision e.g. for consultations like the one which we learned will happen in Wales in 2018; (2) can toilets become/make desirable urban destinations and (3) Are Local authorities still the best-placed provider for toilets?

 

Toilets, Public Space... and Social Justice?

03/11/2017 | Finding Maindee, Arts, Development & Building, Community

Next week we run our first public seminar since the event on Church Road in June 2014 which helped to plan Finding Maindee. Three years on many artists, volunteers and members of the public have gained experience of running the library and working through the challenge to Find Maindee. In the wider world of public space the impacts of austerity have continued; in Newport - like every locality in Wales and the UK - we are collectively having to make very difficult decisions about what is worth sustaining.

Toilet seminar

Though the event next week focuses on the important issue of toilets, with some excellent speakers and links to policy-makers at Welsh Government, we want to go further and ask what this means for social justice. For example, are models such as the Business Improvement District [BID] an alternative way to manage public space and to what extent are the civic or the community, that’s to say volunteers, willing to go in taking on responsibilities for public services and public facilities? Is this fair?


This blog article outlines the social justice debate that this seminar will explore and why the arts are providing opportunities to explore the use of public space in Maindee.

Learning from Soup Making Event

30/10/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Learning

We are making a lot of progress with our food and drink serving counter since architect George Lovesmith [pictured below left] connected us with a group of architecture students at UWE in Bristol. We wanted something that could be moved around the building and even taken outside for events and last week we tried their life size mock-up at the Library Soup event [Weds 25th October].

Student architecture group

The group of four [pictured left to right – Sammy, Matt, Verity and Brad] have been given a budget to make a product and will be presenting their work to us on November 16th. This blog article adds more to the intitial research [17th October] and shares some of the feedback from the library soup event...

 

Tricia Takes Over!

27/10/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Library

From November 2017 Tricia Rogers will be in charge of the rota which organises the library volunteers. She will follow Kim Lambert who has given her time to do the work for the past two years.

Tricia takes over

Typically there are about 20 different people who volunteer at the library each week and roughly 6 different volunteer shifts every day. This blog article gives a little background on how Tricia got involved and what she gets from being involved in the library...

 

Final New Paths Grant Awarded

26/10/2017 | New Paths, Arts, Community

Last week Maindee Unlimited made the final award from the New Paths Fund. Community House Eton Road will be running a project to create a mural which represents the diverse group of cultures who live - and have lived - in the Maindee area.

The project idea was devised by Brian Selby [pictured below sitting at the table] and comes at the right time as it taps into the stories which have been uncovered by the 1,000 Voices project. 

 

Marilyn Priday [pictured above second from left] said that: "Community House is delighted and grateful to have the last grant from Maindee New Paths."

This blog article gives some information about this latest project and gives some background on what has happened through New Paths since it was set up in 2015.

Practicalities of the Maindee Library Refresh

06/10/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Learning

Writing this article in early October 2017 we are getting close to making the first changes to the Maindee Library building. Everybody asks why things seem to take such a long time to happen? The honest answer is that as we explore this building we sense that it has its own personality and that there are many complex relationships between all the different processes [not least human behaviours] needed to make the refresh happen.

Consider the knock on effects

This piece of writing explores how changing one part of the building will have knock-on effects in other parts [see real image above taken of the library boiler room]. We also deliberate embracing renewable heating systems… the upfront capital price versus the lifetime running costs. In many respects we hope that other small charities will be able to read this account and benefit from our little adventure...

Celebrating Maindee Unlimited at the 2017 AGM

30/09/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Library

Another year in the history of Maindee Unlimited, the charity which supports the library, was celebtrated on the evening of Monday September 2017. This meeting was both a chance to present the year to date, including the finances, and also to hear from some other groups in Newport that are taking on creative community-led projects: the Cwtsh and Le Public Space.

 Maindee Unlimited AGM 2017

This blog provides some detail about the evening, with links to the other presentations.

Maindee Unlimited developing as a charity

03/09/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Learning

On Tuesday 29 August 2017 John Hallam [pictured below] delivered a training session called ‘Being a Trustee’ to some of Mainee Unlimited’s board of trustees; and also to some people interested in joining the board. This short blog article shares some of the discussion from the session, alongside some video links and an invitation to our annual general meeting [AGM] at 6pm on Monday 18th.

Being a trustee

Getting views first changes to Maindee Library

30/08/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Library

To accompany our latest film [see below] about the library makeover this blog gives a bit more detail about the options that we have for the small spaces within the library.

Maggie Kim film August 2017

Our architects Sarah and George have looked at different options for the small spaces at the library. Their thinking centres on what people have told us from the questionnaire: a need for better toilet facilities and an attractive meeting space. We now have two main options.

With both options we move the toilets away from their current location at the back of the space and towards the middle. We can therefore make the most of the natural light which comes from the street [via a new opening off the lobby] and light to the rear by creating a new window at the back. 

A key feature of both the options is that they enable these Small Spaces to be rented out independent of the main library space, without compromising privacy [such as for the Road to Wellbeing sessions on Wednesday evenings] or security of the PCs and so on. 

Maindee Library Refresh 2017-2018

26/07/2017 | Development & Building, Community, Library

On Thursday 27th July we will host the first of the sessions where Maggie and Kim [pictured left and right below] meet the community who use the library.

Maggie and Kim at the Library

This blog post explains the story of Maindee library and the work to refresh the fabric of the building between autumn 2017 and summer 2018. We tell the story of how the library is run by volunteers and how it functions financially by income earned from room rentals. We also explain how much money we are planning to spend and why we are giving a priority to creative initiatives within the process.

NONSENSUS

10/07/2017 | New Paths, Arts, Community, Library

 

I AM STUART FARNSWORTH AND I DEMAND ANSWERS

How Maindee's Community will shape Art & Architecture in the Library

10/07/2017 | New Paths, Arts, Development & Building, Community, Library

We are starting to plan how the Maindee community will shape the artistic and architectural changes which support the refurbishment and re-alignment of the library building.
 
Over July 2017 library volunteers Maggie and Kim will be leading the conversation where we find out what people want from the space. From August we will start working more closely with artists and makers to try out practical and creative ideas. By the end of summer the pratical and creative should start to come together and the first set of changes should start to appear.
 
 
Start of timeline
 
For a recap on architects Sarah Hollingworth and George Lovesmith and their approach to 'playful provocations', 'invitations to collaborate' and 'practical infrastructure' [as pictured above] please read this blog article from earlier in the summer.
 
Please read on to find out about the approach that we plan to take and how to get involved.
 

Celebrating the Healing Words Project in Maindee

17/06/2017 | Arts, Community, Library

On Tuesday 13th June we had a powerful and enjoyable evening which concluded the Gwent Arts in Health creative writing sessions held at Llyfrgell Maindee Library during May 2017: the Healing Words project.

The session was introduced by Mike Church and was a chance for members of the writing group to read out some of their own work. We also heard from other Newport poets and were able to connect with other people in south Wales doing pioneering work with community building.

Healing Words Maindee Library June 2017

We are grateful to Sarah Goodey from Gwent Arts in Health for managing this work in the library and also for sourcing the funding and other support from the Gwanwyn FestivalLiterature Wales and Newport Live. This blog article provides some reflections on the evening.

Evaluating Art and Culture?

07/03/2017 | Finding Maindee, Community, Learning

For the fourth New Paths meeting at 5.30pm on Wednesday April 12th we will centre on research and evaluation for arts projects, focusing on the work that we are doing in Maindee and looking at other practice in Wales.

We will be presenting proposals to document our work in Maindee through the Space Invaders artist commission. Deadline is Friday 10 March! http://www.volcanotheatre.co.uk/whats-on/space-invaders

Space invaders plays with how we let outsiders into our communities and the places where we live: whether they artists or researchers. In the spirit of inviting somebody new to the library here researcher Eugene Dubens introduces himself ahead of the meeting on April 12th...



Building resilient communities through cleaning together

01/03/2017 | Community, Opinions

The CIN (Children in need) Maindee Youth Project organised a successfull community clean up at Maindee school during half term on Thursday 23rd February 10am-5pm. 

“The Maindee youth project is a project to help young people engage in diversionary activities. The aim is to help them and others to feel safe in there communities by getting them to contribute and participate. Through participating allows them to have a place in the community. showing that they have something good to contribute and something good through the project (training, certifications, opportunities) “ Zenia Hamid (Maindee Youth Project, Youth worker)

Theatre for Change - one month in

28/02/2017 | Finding Maindee, New Paths, Arts, Maindee Voices, Community

Ismael Velasco explores progress of his ‘Theatre for Change’ New Paths project. This blog piece explains how he sees community as porous, networked and more than just geographical. Furthermore the make-up of the audiences at Ismael’s performances in Maindee have helped to see this part of Newport as a hub. Ismael describes the way that he is Finding Maindee as:

'A helpful insight, not least in terms of Maindee Unlimited's vision of attracting trade and developing Maindee as an inward destination within Newport. It is also useful learning in terms of future efforts.'

Ismael at Zimbabwean event

Ismael is always smiling - as we see in the image above from a Zimbabwean event at Community House on Eton Road. The following paragraphs describes how he is feeling having nearly completed one month of a two month project.

Looking forward at Maindee Library

05/02/2017 | Finding Maindee, Development & Building, Community, Library

On Saturday 4 February 2017 a wide group of the library volunteers, trustees of Maindee Unlimited and staff got together to discuss the past, present and future of Maindee Library as a community-run space.

Huw Meredydd Owen's model of Maindee Library

As Maindee is part of the Arts Council of Wales [ACW] programme called ‘Ideas: People: Places’ we are encouraged to explore how spaces are used. For example, we will be able to bring in a designer to help us shape the future of the space based on the uses and the people who make it work. This is a very rare opportunity and we are even more fortunate to have some funding from ACW and others to turn our plans into reality. The work to the building will most likely be carried out between autumn 2017 and finish in March 2018.

This blog article recalls the experience of the workshop on Saturday and the start of exciting plans for the next year or so!

Synergies and Opportunities for Opera in Maindee

27/01/2017 | Finding Maindee, Arts, Community

We reported in December last year that the energy of Operasonic is coming to Maindee. The plan of Creative Director Rhian Hutchings is to source an opera from the stories and people of Maindee and which will be performed at the Riverfront on Sunday 1st July. 

Newport Legends workshop

The first session was held on Saturday 10th December. On a cold day people were enticed by tea and cake to talk about local legends and the spaces of significant local meaning [post-it stickers above]. The main writer of our legend, Poly Graham, started to see the places that would be significant in getting a feel for the everyday drama: such as rugby [and football] at Rodney Parade, community gatherings at Community House Eton Road and the Conway Road sweet factory.

This blog explains how the opera will be written and how it is influenced by some of the other art projects within Finding Maindee...

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