Mon 02 April 2012

citybooks Sheffield receives subsidies for participation in the Festival of the Mind with its ‘ WordSurge ’ project

© David BockingThe citybooks residencies in Sheffield have been completed, and the fifth citybook about the city, written by Abdelkader Benali, will be online soon.
Nevertheless, the project’s associated activities are far from over. And so, from the 3rd until the 5th of April, the ‘Low Countries, Big Cities’ conference, organised by the ALCS (Association for Low Countries Studies), will take place in the South Yorkshire city.

Coordinator Henriëtte Louwerse from Sheffield University’s Department of Germanic Studies/SOMLAL, a citybooks partner, is organising a host of follow-up activities and side projects based on the city’s stories. Recently, Henriëtte received excellent news: the project WordSurge has been selected for the Festival of the Mind, and as part of this selection, has been awarded financial support from the Cultural Engagement Committee in Sheffield.

The Festival of the Mind is a collaboration between the city and the University of Sheffield. From the 20th until the 30th of September 2012, forty activities in dialogue with the themes Magic, Space, Identity, City and Craft will take place at various locations around Sheffield.

WordSurge is a project set up by citybooks and Dark River to bring poetry into the public sphere, a place that is normally dominated by commercial texts and prohibition signage. Shoppers will be surprised by ‘guerrilla poetry’ (spontaneous recitals by local theatre groups in the streets), and posters with poems about Sheffield on the city’s walls. As well as this, there will be an evening of recitals and presentations from a variety of poets, including the citybooks authors Helen Mort and Àgnes Lehóczky. There’ll also be an exhibition of David Bocking’s citybooks photos, alongside City One Minute videos and paintings from Dark River.

In order to push the project forward, Henriëtte Louwerse is working together with author and poet Carolyn Waudby (Dark River, Hallam University) and artist Mike Hutchinson (Hallam University).

The poetry posters won’t just feature the work of Lehózky and Mort, but also the texts of local writers, who have the opportunity to submit their verses on Sheffield for selection in the coming months. Matt Black, from the literary organisation Signposts, is overseeing this part of the project.

You can find more information about the ‘Low Countries, Big Cities’ conference, at which citybooks will be presented, here.

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