A reader-led festival of creative responses to a heritage book in St Leonards-on-Sea delivered by ExploreTheArch theatre company supported by ATEAB Funds team.
What happens when a community explores its literary heritage?
In our busy world, it is hard to find time for a heritage text.
It’s even harder to find time to explore it in an extended enquiry of unknown destination.
To leave these books on the shelf means that we miss out on vital insights into our society’s history, facilitating understanding of where we have come from, where we are now and where we might head to.
In creating the annual A Town Explores A Book festival in 2017, originator of the festival Gail Borrow was inspired to explore British heritage writing with community partners through creative, inclusive community art projects running November – March and the Schools ‘8 Ways to Connect’ engagement programme delivered January – March.
The aim was to turn the volume up on voices not commonly foregrounded in literary platforms. In so doing, partners including Hastings and Bexhill Mencap’s Active Arts and Seaview are providers in their town, reframing the predominant perception of these organisations’ communities as ‘provided for’.
The resulting unique multi-site festival of creative responses to the book choice is open to the public in the school spring holiday with an outdoor art trail and companying activity hubs and interactive experiences.
The festival’s community partners are passionate about the power and reach of art in everyday places. St Leonards-on-Sea’s vibrant creative independent businesses offering window displays and events. A whole town has created an environment in which everyone’s thoughts and wisdoms can be shared and valued. St Leonards-on-Sea is the most inspiring place in which to explore your heritage literature.
Fifteen #ATownExploresABook schools ensure that over 3000 children now take part in a festival project and the writing competition. Read about our schools strand.
Co-curators Gail Borrow and Yasmin Aishah, Nov 2023