Creative Journeys at The Lit & Phil

Lit & Phil, Newcastle


November Club have been working collaboratively with independent library The Lit & Phil on a creative project with young people from Newcastle Bridges School.

‘Creative Journeys’ has introduced the young people to the Lit & Phil building, its collections and its heritage in many creative and exploratory ways, including photography, book making, printing and storytelling. The young people have also been given Lit & Phil memberships enabling them to use the library in the future. The project has involved pupils in Year 9 and 10 at Newcastle Bridges School, which proviwebedit2de educational opportunities to pupils whose mainstream education has been interrupted for various reasons.  

Matthew Hickey, Deputy Head of Provision at The Bridges School said: “Many of our pupils struggle with social interaction and have never been to a library before so just getting them here is a big deal. They have responded well to the creative opportunities November Club and the artists have provided them, and each week we can see them visibly relax as they become familiar with the surroundings and discover new things. This experience will mean so much more to them than we realise and it is definitely one of the more popular activities they have access to.”

Kay Easson, the Lit & Phil’s Librarian says, "The purpose of Creative Journeys is to engage disadvantaged young people with the Lit & Phil, via the creative arts. This has undoubtedly been achieved thanks to November Club and the artists involved. We hope that the young people will remember their experiences here and continue to make use of all the Lit & Phil has to offer."

November Club has involved print maker Theresa Easton and photographer Donna-Lisa Healy to engage the young people and be inspired by the books in the Lit & Phil. 

Theresa, based in the webedit5Ouseburn Valley said: “The young people have been able to connect visually to the books in The Lit & Phil, finding different titles, covers, jackets and then using them as a springboard to create their own work. I meet the young people weekly and I have learned to respond to how they’re feeling each time and be flexible in my approach. I always encourage them to have a go and try something new. Throughout the course the confidence within the group has grown, and it's lovely to see them speechless at what they’ve created. They should be so proud.”

Photographer Donna-Lisa Healy, Printmaker Theresa Easton.

Sarah Hudson, Participation Producer at November Club added:

“Meeting the young people and seeing them grow in confidence in the work that they are producing and in their interaction with the building and the people in it, has been wonderful. Having access to such rich creative experiences allows them to step away from the challenges of everyday life, engage their imaginations and flourish. We start with a new group of young people in January and I’m looking forward to see what inspires them.”webedit8

The work produced by the young people is now on display at The Lit & Phil until the end of January 2018. This includes mock up books, screen prints, photography based art and flying birds. Entry to The Lit & Phil is free and it's open daily except Sundays. Please check the website for opening times Creative Journeys has been funded by the Northern Rock Foundation. 


Media Contact: Kathryn Row

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Notes to Editor:

November Club is a performing arts company based in Northumberland. We make playful and inspiring theatre and installations, telling unexpected stories of all sorts of people and places. The work is made in response to the region’s emotional landscape and iconic buildings, to its history, its people and their stories. It capitalises on unexpected and unusual places in hugely appealing ways. Our authentic and distinctive approach to theatre making, working across different artistic practices and bringing people together on equal terms through participation, has created a strong following that has resulted in some of the region’s most innovative performances.

The Lit & Phil is the largest independent library outside London, housing over 160,000 books.

Since opening in 1825, the Lit & Phil has welcomed thousands of people, witnessed ‘world firsts’ in innovation and grown a unique collection of books. It’s now so much more than a library. Depending on who you ask, it’s an historic building, a refuge, a meeting place, office, theatre, lecture hall, performance space and of course, still an outstanding library.

Newcastle Bridges School is a multi-site Foundation Special School (formerly a Community Special School incorporating hospital education) for 170 pupils. The school was founded in September 2002, previously the constituent parts had been centrally held services of the Local Education Authority.

Newcastle Bridges School believes that all children have a right to education. The school provides educational opportunities of a high standard to pupils whose education has been interrupted by mental or physical ill-health, school phobia or pregnancy.

Theresa Easton delivers regular workshops in printmaking & artist’s book making from her studio in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle.

Donna-Lisa Healy is a fine art photographer from Chester Le Street.