THE PORTABLE READING ROOM
In 2011, as part of my regular collaborative work with the Wild Pansy Press I designed the Portable Reading Room; this is a mobile project space, gallery, bookshop, stage or bar. It is a flat-pack, easy-assembly enclosed structure incorporating seating, a layout area where books or any other artifacts can be displayed and used, some storage space and, on the exterior surfaces, areas for displaying work, a notice board and signage. As well as being a site for different activities the Portable Reading Room is a social sculpture in its own right, centered on the activity of reading, writing and conversation at every level.
One of the aims of the project as a whole was to break down boundaries between what are separately seen as “Literature”, “Writing” and “Art” and, by doing so, extend participants’ and their audiences’ understanding of what these forms can offer.
The Portable Reading Room toured a variety of venues, from the Whitechapel Artists Book Fair to an antiquarian book fair at York Racecourse – via Crescent Arts Scarborough and the de la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. In 2012 it was “in residence” in the Victorian gallery of Leeds Art Gallery, turned over to constantly- changing occupancy by local and visiting artists and my students from the School of Fine Art at Leeds University. It hosted lectures, a symposium a book launch and a number of performances.