Back on the Street Soon!

Having nestled up with viewers at home for the duration of the pandemic lockdown, just as the heritage books that the festival focuses on snuggle on the shelves of our homes throughout life, this year’s AtownExploresABook festival is, at last, gearing up to come back on to the streets.

The ‘non-essential’ independent shops that are at the very core of this unique St Leonards-on-Sea festival are reopening this week and projects exploring this year’s chosen book, H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, are reopening with them, rooted as this literature festival is in the every day experience of life. 

The Zoom Arts collective reopens its space at Warrior Square Station on Saturday 18th June, from 11am-3pm with a variety of exploratory, intriguing visual work including Anna Bachène’s vivid collage highlighting H.G.Wells’ fascination with technological innovation in his industrial age, and his anxiety concerning its implications.

Core team member Maya Coombs

Dawn Dublin and Alex Brattell’s The Mind of a Time Traveller, funded by Arts Council England and Hastings Borough Council, typifies the opportunities the pandemic experience has afforded. Viewers have been able to dwell for weeks on the rich array of images online of community members, all time-travellers, linked by a common thread: experience of exclusion, omission and discrimination. Images are still available on the festival website, but from the 18th the project will be on display at thriving community hub, Southwater Community Centre. 

The Mind of a Time Traveller is inspired by H.G. Wells’ words, “We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave.” 

Teddy Tinker’s at 134 London Road, St Leonards also reopens on 18th June and thereafter from Thursday-Sunday, 11-4pm. It will be hosting Isabel and Mark Fisher’s fascinating copper steam punk time machine, created from descriptions in the novel. Why copper? It’s as if this artist duo travelled into the future when they were designing back in the autumn, because copper is a surface that viruses cannot adhere to. Mark’s exploration into academic papers investigating copper as a choice for hospital surfaces has really paid off, as this time machine will be safe to sit on for selfies. As with all the festival venues, there is a strict Covid-19 safety protocol at the venue and if you’d like to be a time-traveller, you need to be a forward thinking one by booking ahead on 07516 268667.

“Everyone wants to time travel. Which century would you step into?” asks Caroline Morris Millinery in the new time travel exhibition at 59 Kings Road, St Leonards, again from 18th June. The Millinery is open between 11-4pm, and the show will be comprised of work by Susan Elliott, John Ferro Sims and Caroline Morris.

The festival’s social media channels have been championing time-travellers in literature in the 125 years since H G Wells’ The Time Machine was published. The exploration of these figures has been led by Maya Coombs, the festival’s youngest core team member. “Time-travellers are often quirky beings such as Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novice time-travellers in Before The Coffee Gets Cold and Octavia E. Butler’s more seasoned time-traveller, Dana, in Kindred. My personal favourite at the moment is possibly Dick Young in Daphne du Maurier’s The House on the Strand.”

Visit the festival website atownexploresabook.com for
info and the festival’s social media channels on facebook, twitter and instagram for this ExploreTheArch collaboration with multiple
St Leonards’ organisations and businesses.


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