Libraries Unlimited has appointed internationally renowned artist and storyteller Daniel Clark to lead its exciting new programme of arts and cultural events across Devon’s libraries.
Daniel, who is based in Totnes, has extensive experience making, commissioning and programming innovative artworks. His previous roles have seen him working on creative projects across the UK and internationally, for organisations such as Dartington Arts, Kaleider and Metropolitan Museum & Aurelia Soundworks.
Libraries Unlimited, the charity responsible for running Devon and Torbay’s library services, became one of the first Arts Council England library sector National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) in April this year.
The charity will receive £170,000 each year for the next four years to deliver a high quality cultural programme in its libraries. Daniel will be leading the programme, working closely with Ciara Eastell as Chief Executive and supported by library staff, exploring the cultural role of libraries and encouraging new audiences to engage with excellent and diverse work that would not normally be accessible in most of rural Devon.
Daniel said: “Libraries Unlimited has become known for its innovation, creativity and pioneering approaches to library services, so I’m really excited to be joining the organisation to deliver this imaginative new programme of arts and culture in Devon’s libraries. With 50 libraries across the county, there is huge potential to reach a diverse audience, taking art to the most rural communities and challenging people’s perceptions of what a modern library looks like.
He continued: “At the heart of the NPO programme is a desire to link art and literature, to help reconnect people with the magic and wonder of some our best loved stories. Libraries offer the perfect venue for a whole range of arts and cultural events and activities, and I’m excited to bring my expertise and to start working with some incredible artists and partner organisations to deliver challenging, inventive and immersive experiences for the people of Devon.”
The first year of activity will focus on Bideford, Barnstaple and Exeter Libraries, and will include artist in residency opportunities at Exeter Library’s FabLab to explore digital storytelling, co-produced events with children and young people alongside the Burton at Bideford, live screenings of performances at rural libraries working with organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and a ‘library playground’ programme to explore the physical space in libraries.
Ciara Eastell OBE, Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited said: “We want to change the way libraries are experienced by placing arts and culture at the heart of every service we deliver. We believe that by working with artists and creating new opportunities for our customers, we are increasing our potential to change people’s lives. We will continue to offer all the services that our customers know and love; books, eBooks, audiobooks, children’s events, digital magazines and access to information and resources, but we’ll also be broadening our offering by programming art and cultural events and activities to reach out to those who might not consider their local library as somewhere to go to experience something different.
She continued: “We are thrilled to have Daniel joining our team to deliver this new programme. He brings real energy and creativity, alongside significant experience of working with a diverse range of artists and arts organisations across the world. I’ll be working closely with Daniel to make the most of this huge opportunity, which has only been made possibly through investment in us by Arts Council England. Our staff team are really excited to be working alongside Daniel to develop a high quality programme for communities across Devon. I can’t wait to see what emerges over the next 4 years!”
Libraries Unlimited is one of six library organisations to become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. This round of NPO investment has been the first time that library services could apply to be part of the portfolio. Libraries Unlimited will be working with the other five library NPOs across the country and with the Society of Chief Librarians as a new Sector Support Organisation to share best practice and inform the library sector as a whole.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted that Libraries Unlimited are now part of our National Portfolio and very happy to see the appointment of Daniel Clark to lead their new programme of arts and cultural events.
“Libraries Unlimited deliver exciting and accessible arts and cultural activities, taking great art and culture to the heart of rural communities across Devon, and have a national reputation for innovation and excellence. We look forward to working with them over the next four years as they continue to build their audiences and to explore ideas that enhance the important role that libraries play in our local communities.”
For more information visit the website, follow @LibrariesUnLtd on Twitter, facebook.com/librariesunlimited and Instagram.com/librariesunlimited or visit your local library.