Posts Tagged ‘library’

Medicine Cabinet (or when students are given a bunch of objects)

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

On my first day at school, I was put into a group with four other students who would become my exhibition team members. We were given a box of items from the Museum of Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester and told to create a pop-up exhibition. This all seemed quite exciting and do-able until I realised that the five other groups of students also had boxes and were also creating pop-up exhibitions that had to then come together to form THE ULTIMATE EXHIBITION. Yikes.

The next 12 weeks involved a lot of confusion, laughter, tears, horror, worry, frowning, and general “how the hell are we going to do this?”. Each group had objects somehow related to health and medicine – my group had medical art while others had surgical implements, items from a doctor’s bag or ‘alternative medicine’ devices. Somehow each group had to develop an exhibition that told the stories of their objects while also combining all of the exhibitions together to form one overall display. We were due to exhibit on 11 December at a building at Chetham’s School of Music. After a change of date and location, we were allowed to install on 12 December at a different building at Chetham’s Library, 1.5 hours before the exhibition opened.

exhibition

My group’s final exhibition

It was a close call but somehow, through what I can only describe as a ‘Christmas miracle’, we managed to install our exhibition and be ready for our first visitors at the 11am opening time. A second Christmas miracle occurred when Pubert Gladstone was one of the first to come through the door. REMARKABLE yet wonderful.

I was overwhelmed by how successful the final event was. We had over 200 visitors throughout the day despite it being one of the wettest Saturdays in Manchester this winter and it being hidden in the depths of the beautiful Chetham’s Library. It was such a privilege to be allowed to hold an exhibition in such a beautiful old building. If you ever have the chance to visit the library, do. It is incredible.

Chetham's library

Chetham’s Library (before the rain)

I had so many friends and family members come to check out my work despite me suggesting it was a bad idea. It was incredible to have such support. Thanks folks – muchos appreciatos.

I got a little teary at the end of it all when my lecturer, Kostas, congratulated us on having such a successful exhibition and it really was – we had all worked our butts off and somehow managed to create something that none of us believed was actually possible. We bonded as a class group and came away feeling quite pleased with ourselves.

But thank god it’s over. I never want to organise an exhibition with 35 other people without defined roles ever again. The end.

medicine cabinet

Final results of our interactive activity

Nerdish Brownies

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

I am supposed to be doing work right now, but I have news that needs immediate discussion. This morning was the first time my library-buddy, Joe, and I have been working in the Central library together. As per usual, at 10.30am I headed to the library café to buy my morning coffee. Before departing, I asked Joe if he would like anything. A cheeky look spread across his face as he suggested we share one of the cakes on offer. I agreed.

Joe trusted my cake-selection abilities and so I chose the chocolate brownie, an item I had sampled thanks to some bite-sized tasters the café sometimes makes available, however I had never purchased an entire slice.

Holy moly.

Never would I have guessed that I would find one of the world’s best chocolate brownies in the café at the Manchester Central Library. It is rich, dark and gooey on the inside with a slight crunch on the outer layer. There are small pieces of walnut scattered throughout, breaking up the intensity of the chocolate.

Library brownie – served in a lovely cardboard box/plate/dish/thing

Library brownie – served in a lovely cardboard box/plate/dish/thing

I am very, VERY picky when it comes to chocolate flavoured sweet goods and I never give praise unless it is deserved and this was bloody awesome. And so my first official work day of 2015 has been delicious. I haven’t done enough work, but finding a delicious brownie is a far better use of my time.

Team Library

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

I have failed to mention that I have been kicked out of The Classroom. I didn’t plagiarise my exams or call the Principal rude names – the agency running The Classroom clearly felt that it wasn’t making the big turnovers it was after and therefore my fellow freelancers and I were asked to leave. The worst part about this wasn’t the loss of the space but the potential of not working around my fellow Classroomers. There was a great bunch of people working there and it would be sad for us to all split up.

We had a month and a bit to find ourselves some new working quarters and so as one big team of hot-desk searchers, we tweeted, Facebooked, and physically visited various office spaces across Manchester. Some were fancy and even offered the potential of comfortable seats, but most were far out of our price range. Then we discovered MadLab, a communal office and workshop space in the Northern Quarter that was undergoing renovations. They have offered us an amazing deal and are looking after us as if we are their children. While the renovations continue, a group of us are working from an office space above Terrace, one of the Northern Quarter’s most hipsterish bars. We are being given this space for free which is just music to the ears of poor freelance writers. Big thumbs up and high fives to the folks at MadLab and Terrace for being so accommodating. Everyone drink beer at Terrace and do tech workshops with MadLab. DO IT.

The only downside to working above a bar is that the space is occasionally used for meetings, classes and other ‘stuff’, plus it doesn’t open until 11am. As a result, some of us have migrated to the Manchester Central Library reading room where silence and the sound of intelligence prevail. My co-workers and I somewhat ruin that vibe with occasional giggling and over zealous ‘shhh!’s but I am particularly enjoying my new leather and wood work surface.

library desk

Smart desks.

I like to imagine that hundreds of very intelligent people have sat at these library desks, studying, learning and becoming generally smarter and that some of that is rubbing off on to me. I can’t say I feel any more intelligent. The domed roof is beautiful, too, and the shape of the room means sounds bounce off walls so I can eavesdrop on what people are talking about on the other side of the room. Fun times.

Reading room

Giant dome.

Library Lady

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

This weekend I intentionally went to TWO libraries. Not just one. Two. Nerd alert.

Library #1 – Manchester Central Library

Since moving to Manchester I have watched with great interest the redevelopment of the Manchester Central library. A large and commanding building situated behind the Town Hall, it has been surrounded by partitions and scaffolding and I have been eager to get inside and take a look. On Saturday it finally reopened and the public was able to visit the new and improved building. Being the eager book-beaver that I am, I was there with the rest of the nerds keen to see what sort of books I could get out on my library card. (Not that I have one yet. I signed up on Saturday.)

The building is circular and features a large dome in the centre. This is where the main reading room is located and is most definitely the high light of the building. The previous week, a friend had mentioned the whispering wall effect that he remembered being prevalent in this room when he used to go there to study. I was excited to see if this still existed or if the architects had ruined it with soundproofing. I believe it may have been reduced slightly, however as I stood in the middle of the room taking a photograph of the inside of the domed roof, I clearly heard the voice of a man who appeared to be standing right next to me and speaking directly into my ear. But there was no man! In fact, a large pillar in the centre of the room blocked my view of the person speaking as he was located directly across from me. It was fantastic! I spent about ten minutes walking around eaves dropping on conversations that were happening at the opposite end of the room from me. I plan on spending a lot of time here feeding my need to listen to other people’s conversations.

Inside the dome.

Inside the dome.

Family history plays a prominent role in the new development. There is a section dedicated to helping people research their family history and discovering more about Manchester. I plan on using these services to find out more about my own family history and trying to discover why exactly my great grandfather decided to move to Australia. Obviously he was just a wise man, but perhaps there’s more to the story.

I haven’t been a member of a library since I was a kid but wandering around the Central library on Saturday made me realise how useful it will be to me as a wandering traveller. Borrowing books from a library is a much cheaper and lighter way of reading books – I don’t need to pack them into boxes and send them on to my next destination! Yes, this is a bit of a blonde realisation and I’m sure many of you are currently shaking your heads at my ignorance. But it’s the truth. So there you go. So I joined the library on the weekend and hope to get a library card. Then I’ll be a real nerd.

Library #2 – Chetham’s Library

Located in the centre of Manchester next to the Football Museum is Chetham’s School of Music. This prestigious school is hidden quite mysteriously behind gates and a lone security guard and is difficult to infiltrate. However, the Manchester Histories Festival is currently happening throughout the city and a few buildings have been opened to the public. So I took the opportunity to go and visit Chetham’s library that I had seen photographs of and read about on various websites.

Please Ring.

Please Ring.

The school features beautiful old stone buildings that make it look like the set from Harry Potter. The library is located upstairs through a wooden doorway and you are instantly welcomed by dark wood shelves and a high half-timbered roof. It is just spectacular – you can’t help but say “WOW!” as you walk into the space. It oozes history and you can just sense the hundreds of brilliant scholars who have spent hours reading books there.

Beautiful books.

Beautiful books.

As part of the festival, there was a gentleman showcasing a wooden letter press and I stood and had a bit of a chat with him about the processes involved. We were then invited to watch a performance of ballads that had been written in Greater Manchester to spread news and stories about what had been happening in the local area. The girl performing the ballads was great and brought a spark to the ballads. I had previously read some of them as they hung on the walls of the Manchester Art Gallery but it was a completely different experience to listen to them being performed.

I was sad to leave Chetham’s library simply because it was such an enjoyable space to be in. If you get the chance to visit make sure you do.