Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Noticing Nature

Along with my fellow Hello Hub compadres, I've been helping to run Derby Writers' Hub, and since last Autumn, we've been working with the wonderful Derby Museums on a collaborative project for their new Nature Gallery. The commission was to create stories and poems from a series of exhibits, with a view to these new writings becoming part of the Nature Gallery.

First off, we were given photographs of the animals that would feature in the Gallery. These included birds, a pangolin, and a sun bear amongst others. Next, we got to meet the actual specimens when Co-Production Curator Louise brought them to one of our Hub sessions. Sadly, the bear was too big to fit in her car (what, no sunroof?), but we did get to handle fossils from between 33-56 MILLION years ago. Which was nice.

And so over the following months we imagined, and scribbled, and edited, and chewed pens, and typed, and finally, we had ourselves a set of stories and poems all inspired by the nature exhibits. These were originally going to be displayed on cards, but after gathering them all together, Derby Museums decided on a booklet format, and then wondered if it could become an actual book that would be available for sale in the Museum shop. And yes, it could.

And so the project grew and grew and now this weekend, the Nature Gallery opens to the public, and from what I've seen and heard so far (esteemed pal Richard Birkin has created a soundscape for the Gallery using nature recordings and birdsong), it's going to be a real treat. And if you've been lucky enough to bag an invite to the launch event on the Friday eve, then you'll get to hear us reading our stories in the flesh, too.