Summer’s lease

Traveling Treasury - a storytelling performance that inspired the cover of A Wider Horizon
Traveling Treasury – a storytelling performance that inspired the cover of A Wider Horizon

With the publication of A Wider Horizon ten days ago, this phase of the Regular Marvels idea draws to a close. I say ‘this phase’ but I don’t know whether or when there may be a second one. Five years ago, I set out to explore different ways of writing about the place of the arts in people’s lives. I was dissatisfied with some aspects of my own previous work, and even more with the language and assumptions of current arts discourse. Two questions concerned me in particular:

  • If art is important, why is it not accepted as a valid way to understand arts experience?
  • If people are important, why not write about their experience in ways that they might read?

Regular Marvels was a response to both problems. My intention with each book was to:

  • Work with a writer’s, not a researcher’s, methods and sensibility;
  • Work with a visual artist as an equal partner in the process;
  • Choose the subject and focus of each book myself;
  • Write about things the art world undervalued or just didn’t see; and
  • Write in ways that were approachable and interesting to those involved.

Those ideas shaped both the process and the final books, in particular the commitment to publishing them under a Creative Commons licence and making them free through this site. It also influenced their appearance and content: richly illustrated, legible design, accessible language, no footnotes. I wanted each one to be readable at a sitting – a long train journey perhaps.

A couple of recent but unconnected conversations have been encouraging. Joli Vyann, an exciting young performance company, told me that they’d been inspired by Bread & Salt when they were researching their piece about migration, Stateless. And Lyn Gardner, theatre critic with the Guardian (who has just written generously about A Wider Horizon) mentioned she’d read and quoted from Winter Fires. Writing can seem like a mad obsession, like constantly dropping messages in bottles off an ocean pier. It’s great when you get a reply.

With a bit more distance, I might give a better account of Regular Marvels. For now, I want to thank all those who’ve come on the journey – the people who’ve contributed to the books in countless ways and those who’ve read the results. It’s a big busy world and your attention is appreciated. In September, I’ll post news of a new project. In the meantime, I wish you a good summer (or winter if you’re reading this in the Southern Hemisphere…).

If you’d like a digital copy of A Wider Horizon, click on this link: A Wider Horizon (PDF 5MB). Printed books are available now from Creative Arts East, 19 Griffin Court, Market Street, Wymondham NR18 0GU, Tel: 01953 713390 Email:  enquiries@creativeartseast.co.uk

 

A Wider Horizon – now available

A Wider Horizon, books - 1

A Wider Horizon is available from today. To download a digital copy, please click on the link below:

For a copy of the printed book, please contact:

Creative Arts East, 19 Griffin Court, Market Street, Wymondham NR18 0GU

Tel:            01953 713390        Email:       enquiries@creativeartseast.co.uk