Rugeley Creative Hub

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At Rugeley Library, artist Ruth Allen has worked collaboratively with local crafters, library visitors, family groups, library staff and the wider community through pop up activities & outreach events to form a hub of experimental activity where people of all levels of experience and ability had the opportunity to take part, contribute ideas, develop creative skills and try new techniques. The hub have gone on to produce a wonderful array of art work inspired by their local town and heritage, local buildings and the places people love about Rugeley. We have enjoyed listening to people’s own stories about the local area and have explored the importance of public buildings; having somewhere to meet and connect with others and, in particular, how people feel visiting their local library, what makes it feel a safe and welcoming place to visit.

I chose to approach this residency with community at the very heart of the project. The initial conversation revolved around where the participants live, what it felt like to be out again and working alongside others, their knowledge of the area and also what creative skills they would like to learn. This then developed into a series of taster sessions with the groups and figuring out what areas they would like to explore more. There has also been outreach sessions within the community which have contributed to the project and this has also encouraged people back into the library.

Participants have contributed work to create their own townscape incorporating stories of where they feel their sense of place is. Each learner has been on their own unique journey throughout this project and have grown in confidence and developed new creative skills, which was a joy to witness.

Ruth Allen

Resources

As part of the project, Ruth has developed a toolkit of materials for the library including various tools and materials to encourage the hub to continue to meet & develop their skills in line drawing, wire sculpture and printing techniques. A guidebook of resources including activity instructions, top tips and where to source materials, is available at the library as well as colouring sheets of different places and buildings in and around Rugeley.

These can be downloaded below.

Activities

A selection of colour sheets to download & print – more available at the library:

Feedback

We asked participants, ‘What have you enjoyed most about this project and what difference has it made?’

‘Interesting activity. Being back in the library socialising with friends. Friendly artists’

‘Getting lost in an activity, enjoyed listening to people talk about the history of Rugeley’

‘Feeling relaxed & trying something new with my son’

‘It was nice being back crafting in the library’

‘It has made me really happy because I’ve never done anything like this before’

`Getting out of the house doing a lovely activity with the kids, added bonus of it being free’

‘It made me feel more confident’

‘It has inspired my creative ability with research and work with materials I’d not normally use’

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