This week sees the start of a mini-festival from Bees Make Honey Creative Community called Memories of the Future, which will be exploring the increasingly blurred lines between analogue and digital culture. The festival is organised by Kirsty Fox, who recently became a member of the Studio. “We are concentrating on the four specialisms of music, moving image, photography and the written word. All of these areas face rapid changes in how they’re made and how we consume them as we move into the digital age. Yet all have a rich history in different traditional formats that people are very attached to, from the traditionally-made book, to vinyl and cassette tape, to analogue photography and 16mm film. We don’t see this as the old versus the new. Rather we hope to explore the best of both and how they can still co-exist and actually help each other,” she said.
The themes for this festival seem particularly prescient at the moment. Our patron, Jon McGregor, who has tried to live the past year without email, has just published the first issue of a new literary journal, called The Letters Page, which only accepts hand-written submissions. Without any sense of irony this is published digitally as a PDF and he can’t quite shift his Twitter addiction. (Yes Jon, it is an addiction – but it won’t kill you).
Elsewhere, a new study by the National Literacy Trust found that books are deemed a thing of the past by a YouTube generation of readers. They found that the number of children reading outside of school had dropped by 25% since 2005. Statistics like this worry me and have partly served as motivation to embark on a digital project called Dawn of the Unread in the hope of encouraging an interest in local culture and in turn reading. I’ll be giving a talk about this on Wednesday 9 October as part of Memories of the Future.
Kirsty originally put in a GFA bid for Memories of the Future but was unsuccessful. However, this has not deterred her and if anything has made her more determined. “I’m a believer in the DIA scene: Do It Anyway.” The Studio was very keen to support Kirsty and get involved and we will be hosting four workshops from Friday 11 October to Sunday 13 October under the theme of ‘Words of the Future’ which we believe address the changing needs of our membership as well as directly addressing themes of the festival.
Adrian Reynolds will be exploring ‘digital opportunities for writers’ on Friday. Adrian was recently successful in a Kick-Starter campaign (crowd sourcing) which is becoming an increasingly popular means of raising funds. He’s also written the first ever App-delivered genre serial Making Sparks. Financially surviving in the digital age requires adaptability and a certain degree of innovation and so will be of interest to many of our members.
Another major change in the publishing industry has been the move from consumers to producers. This has led to an increase in self-published novels all happily heading for Amazonville, the digital equivalent of Hollywood. Similarly, publishers are learning new techniques that are enabling them to reduce costs, reach new audiences and experiment across platforms. Therefore we’ve put on three publishing related workshops. Our Development Director Pippa Hennessy is going to show you how easy it is to create your own ebook. Board member Aly Stoneman is offering a book making course that will enable more unique and bespoke mediums for your work and may possibly be of interest to poets looking for novel ways to create their own pamphlets. Cleeve Press will be bringing their printing presses up from Leicester so that you can become Gutenberg for the day and get inky fingers.
If you want more events like Memories of the Future in Nottingham then you have to do one simple thing. Attend an event.
For more info on other literature events going on in Nottingham this week (and there are a lot), check out LeftLion’s listing.