In describing the following as ‘art books’, I only mean to differentiate them from work whose function is research. These books, from a series called ‘Regular Marvels begun in 2011 and halted in 2015, are their own purpose and were written only because I wanted to write them. A perhaps temporary revival in 2019 saw the addition of a sixth book, I Remember: Leicester, the result of a short creative writing project I led.
2012 – Where We Dream: West Bromwich Operatic Society and the Fine Art of Musical Theatre (Multistory) Where We Dream is both a celebration of the long tradition of amateur theatre and a critique of the condescension with which it is regarded by public arts policy and administration.
2012 – Winter Fires, Art and agency in old age (The Baring Foundation) Ageing comes to us all, if we are lucky, but it is the mixed blessing above all others: the fullness of years can bring frailty, illness, poverty and loss. Winter Fires asks how practicing art – or ‘artisting’, as I call it – can change how we experience old age.
2019 – I Remember: Leicester (Writing East Midlands) A collective text by 12 people with a city in common. Inspired by Joe Brainard’s 1970 original, the book costs £5 + post from Writing East Midlands for £5, or as a free PDF version.
‘This book is a wonderful example of the power of so-called ‘ordinary’memories; these glimpses of a past become extraordinary and moving and glowing with art when they are written down and presented alongside each other. Here are stories that are personal and local but which become universal when they’re shared. Read and enjoy… then have a go yourself!’Ian McMillan