1. First of all, what made you want to get involved with Networked Narrative (NN)?
Networked Narrative seemed like a really good way of getting young people involved in the commissioning side of the arts, not just the participation side. Encouraging young people to use their libraries in more unusual ways was also something that appealed to me.
2. What role do you think libraries play in lives of young people?
The great thing about libraries is that they offer so much to all ages. Not only do we offer resources such as books, eBooks, computers and the Internet, they are a key social hub of the community and through workshops/reading groups/ youth forums etc they can be an important way for young people to form friendships, gain confidence and develop loads of interesting skills.
3. What is the future of the library?
I think one of the biggest changes that society is going through is the development of more online resources and digital technology. Libraries will attempt to keep up with the fast paced development of this but my biggest hope is that we will still have a big physical presence in the community as well as an online one. There will always be a part of me that loves the sensory/tactile experience of reading and libraries.
4. What advice would you give to a young person wanting to get involved in their community?
I think that your local library is definitely a good way to start, as we can offer signposting to all the local events/organisations. When I was younger, I found that volunteering opportunities were a great way to make friends with people in the community and it is also really rewarding if you feel you make a difference. Also, don't be afraid to network and share your interests with others. If people know what sorts of things you are interested in, they are more likely to think of you if a big opportunity comes up. I got involved with a local pantomime society because my drama teacher knew I loved acting and mentioned that auditions were coming up.
5. Tell us about the earliest memory you have of libraries and books?
It might not be my earliest memory but definitely one of the most memorable was of winning a prize for a book review I had written for my local library. I got my picture in the paper and it was something really important to me, especially as I enjoyed the book. I have always loved reading and so visiting the library and some of the events they put on was a key part of my childhood. I was really lucky that my mum realised what a great resource the library is! She has always encouraged me to read lots and inspired my passion for literature. I now write a blog reviewing young adult books (http://lilypadlibraryuk.blogspot.co.uk/) and completed a degree in Drama and English Literature a few years ago so reading has definitely been influential in my life!
6. What do you think makes a good story?
While I like lots of different types of novels, for me, a good story is something that has a mix of everything. I like there to be a human element, where I can identify with at least one of the characters or how they feel (this usually comes from well developed characters) or something that is happening in the plot but there should also be an element of humour. For me, whether the book is a chick lit, horror, fantasy etc, if it can lift my mood then it was worth the read!
7. What do you think is the best way to empower someone?
I think that encouraging people to have their own opinions and allowing them to share these without judgement is really empowering. In a project like Networked Narrative, young people are the key voice, which I think is really important in letting them take ownership and feel empowered.
8. What do you hope people will get from NN?
So far I have got quite a lot from the project, I love working with young people and I have met some lovely new faces! I also have lots more ideas about how to engage creatively with young people. I think that people in general will be offered a really unique experience which will give them the opportunity to work on a professional level with artists, work creatively on a project run by them and meet others from across the North West. I hope that people will really enjoy the project!
9. What is your favourite part of NN?
So far, my favourite part has been meeting all the brilliant people involved in the project, young people, artists and partners! It has made the project really enjoyable for me and their ideas are fantastic!
10. Is this a project you would have wanted to get involved with at 16?
Definitely! My focus would have been the creative writing side of the Text Adventure Time project but I think that some of the other elements are really interesting and would have probably ended up joining in with lots more!
Networked Narrative is a project working with artists Re-dock, FACT and libraries across the North to actively give young people a say and influence over the decisions involving three art commissions for both online and public spaces. Find out how to get involved here.