First of all, what made you want to get involved with Networked Narrative (NN)?
My first involvement came after I found out that my Head of Service had been part of an Arts Council funding bid that had secured the Networked Narratives project. My manager, Christine and I then visited Liverpool FACT to meet the other partners and began a succession of visits to Liverpool, Wigan and Burnley. I was excited by the project and thought it was a wonderful opportunity for young people to actually be able to commission and decide artwork exhibitions and, in other words, to be involved in making things happen, rather than have other adults telling them what they needed!
What role do you think libraries play in lives of young people?
Our libraries are a free and safe place for young people to meet up with friends. They can be a quiet place to study and give them the facility to gain knowledge and skill for the future. More importantly they are fun!
What is the future of the library?
The library is evolving into somewhere where ideas can be transformed into action! - where people find the skill and support to make their lives better by doing things for themselves. That can be learning the IT skills to “sell” themselves to employers via their CV. Libraries are important community hubs that offer space and time for all ages.
What advice would you give to a young person wanting to get involved in their community?
To look around and see if there is an opportunity to volunteer on a local project which is of interest to them. For example, if they like reading and would like to help with summer Reading Challenge they will be welcomed at their local library. If they like art then they may find fun activities to be involved with, for example Networked Narrative! Is there a space that could be improved or an activity that they would like to happen? The local library can always be a signpost for them to find out more.
Tell us about the earliest memory you have of libraries and books.
My mum and dad were always avid readers and when I started school my mum would take me to our local library where I was allowed to choose 2 books! I would go every Saturday morning and would normally have read my books by Monday morning – oh well- back to reading the back of cereal packets!
What do you think makes a good story?
Somebody once told me that a story had a beginning, middle, and then an end!
What do you think is the best way to empower someone?
To give them opportunities and to be non judgemental. To be welcoming and to accept people for who and what they are.
What do you hope people will get from NN?
An opportunity to make new friends and to have an exciting time!
What is your favourite part of NN?
Getting to know the other partners, especially all our lovely young people and to see how proud they are of their hometowns.
Is this a project you would have wanted to get involved with at 16?
That is a difficult question to answer. I don’t think that I was as confident at 16 as some of the young people are today. However I would have loved creating the alternative worlds that they are working on now. The balloon mapping would have been great fun! Unfortunately I am on holiday on the date of our workshop in June but I have requested a live twitter feed and will be following from Wales!
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.