Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Bookcamp Post-Game

Hard to get all my thoughts in order after such a productive day at Bookcamp yesterday.

To make this totally selfish, I’ll focus on the session I chaired, and write about other stuff tomorrow probably.

It started disastrously with a location mix-up so I thought for a few minutes no-one was interested. Far from it! People came downstairs, I did a five-slide explanation (visible here) of what I thought was important, that a literacy centre inspired by 826 in London would be a great way to take advantage of the creative forces here and to provide an inspirational focus for literacy in general.

I got some great feedback and response from Chris Meade and Ben Read, lots of positive suggestions and advice.

Best question came from Anna Jay, who said, “What now?”, when there had been a lot of brainstorming and mulling, but ultimately the project exists in my head just now, and I (or in cooperation with nice people who want to help) need to go about finding ways to set something up.

The two basic issues are getting a) funding and b) a location; everything else after that is a matter of working out details and getting people to donate their time to help out. To model the project after 826, the idea is to get a shop that could be used as both an education space and as a themed retail location that helps fund the literary activities. The premise being that the retail side is the hook that gets publicity and gets kids interested in what goes on inside.

Possible options/areas to explore:

  • Talk to Oxfam for advice on shoplets and what options Not For Profits have
  • Find someone with business expertise to help plan this
  • Find a way to pester some big-name authors who might be interested in being associated with it
  • If getting an actual shop location might be difficult, talk to museums/galleries about possibilty of getting involved with their programs. V&A do similar art projects, why not art and literature?
  • Flash shops? Pop-up shops?
  • Talk to some people in Education at Goldsmiths about the curriculum side of this, deliverables etc
  • Bookshops? Any bookshops with space that would like to get involved
  • Talk to 826 and other similar projects, advice on how they started
  • Think of funding possibilities
  • Find people who might be already trying to do similar things

Alternative answer to what’s next? Try and go to this 826 National Seminar on Feb 20, perhaps. And get in touch with Fighting Words.

Bonus points to Alex Milway, Alan Trotter, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Anne Ward, and Rosie Harris for enthusiasm and offers of help! And again to James and Jeremy for organising the day.


Filed under: miscellaneous,

5 Responses

  1. […] Kevin’s posted his own list here. […]

  2. Lucy says:

    Found this post by chance when searching if an 826 equivalent had already been set up in London. Think its a great idea to start one and would love be help if there’s interest in getting something going.

  3. Amanda says:

    Fell upon this while looking for creative writing volunteer opportunities in London. If the project is still in the works I’d love to help out.

  4. Kevin says:

    Hi, sorry for the delay in replying, only just noticed these comments. It proved beyond my capabilities/connections to spark something, but I’m keeping my eyes/ears opens for similar projects starting up, will post on here if I find anything…

  5. […] Kevin’s posted his own list here. […]

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