How Maindee's Community will shape Art & Architecture in the 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.
A yearlong process which involves collaboration, play and practical infrastructure is not going to be completely linear; sometimes we will appear to be acting playfully when it comes to infrastructure or collaboratively when it comes to play. This is how we plan to form groups and get things going over the next few months.

1. A collaborative group focused on 'infrastrcture': Maggie and Kim supported by Street Media

We will start to set the priorities for the 'practical infrastructure' which supports this project; that's to say things like toilet provision, the balance between space for reading, creating, relaxing and learning and the space which we rent out for other activities. There is a split between the 'inside' and 'outside' spaces so that we also think about how people are attracted into the spaceand how we carry on with the 'incredible edible' outside.
Maggie and Kim [see right below] have been planning how to survey the main user groups of the library such as: the volunteers who keep the building going; the renters of the space who provide our only income; and all our regular users. We also want to hear from local shop keepers and the people we don't already know...
Kim Lambert will have a big role leading our work
Maggie and Kim have a questionnaire which asks questions about what goes in the library and getting future ideas for how the library communicates. The forms will be both on paper and online.

Public meetings / drop-ins

We are planning to hold public meetings at Maindee Library during July
> Thursday 27th July 3pm - 6pm and
> Saturday 29th July 10am - 1pm
Questionnaires to all be returned by the end of July.

2. Playful group centred on New Paths: with architects, artists & makers

The next New Paths Gathering is Thursday 13th July at 6pm in the Library. The event will be a chance to find out from other creative projects from south Wales [Elysium, Made in Roath & Kickplate] and which will be followed up by George and Jo Sutton - who will explain Maggie and Kim's collaboration.
We would like to discuss some of the playful ideas that we can start in the next couple of months. These could involve creating fabric designs that end up being used in the blinds - a potentially early change to the building. We hope that Jo Sutton can help to lead this group with other people from the artistic and creative community coming forward.

3. Infrastructure: led by Maindee Unlimited

Maindee Unlimited is the charity which leads the Finding Maindee project and will be the legal body that is responsible for the library. However, we are a very small organisation and take a lead from the volunteers who keep the library going and make exciting new things happen such as the growing fruit [see below] in the spaces outside the building.
Incredible edibles
We have prioritised time for Maggie and Kim to talk to people and find out how they can be part of the library's future.
We are not making any assumptions about the final form of the building until Maggie and Kim's work has been done. However, more public  toilets and a reliable system for heating and cooling are lilely to be a priority: read about some early research that we did from this blog post.

4. Synergy between the collaborative, playful and infrastructure

We expect to see the first collaboration [see point 1 above] and the playful elements [which builds on New Paths] to come closer together in August. From this point onwards we really hope that people can see the intersections between art, architecture and community that the Finding Maindee project has been working hard to develop.
We are thankful that to the volunteers who are the people who saved the library for the community and who continue to see it grow as a space for the arts, wellbeing, enterprise and much more. We are also grateful to the Arts Council of Wales, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and many others for supporting us with inspiration, connections and finance for this project.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or queries by emailing about the overall refurbishment or for communications and media.

Related Links

The next New Paths Gathering Thursday 13th July @ 6pm

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