Part of Get Blackpool Reading’s first Young Adult Fiction Festival, the exhibition explores the experiences of young people growing up in Blackpool today, and the ways literature, art and popular culture can impact on our identity. It launched on 20 June and will be displayed at the Central Library for two weeks.
Throughout May and June, Year 8 and 9 students from Highfield Leadership Academy and Blackpool Aspire Academy had the chance to meet with published authors Ros Roberts, author of ‘Every Cloud – Little Tiger’, and Katie Clapham, author of ‘Three Girls’. Students heard about the process of being a writer and how you can take inspiration from personal experience and turn it into something for others to enjoy.
Exploring their own experiences of mental health, identity and relationships, as well as the portrayal of these themes in literature and popular culture, students then worked with local artists to create the book-inspired multimedia pieces on display.
Stephanie Wood, Hub Manager at Get Blackpool Reading, said: “This project offered students a new experience in their classrooms, as well as the opportunity to get involved with their local library and gain inspiration from talented local artists and authors.
“Young people in Blackpool have a unique experience, growing up as locals in a tourist town. Working with the students and seeing the artwork that they have produced really highlights those experiences, from how popular culture impacts their sense of identity, to mental health, both positive and negative.
“Having their artwork on public display at just 12 or 13 years old, particularly artwork that explores profound and at times personal subject matters, is an incredible achievement and I’m proud to have been able to help these young people get their experiences heard.”
We are now encouraging Blackpool residents to get involved with the exhibition online by sharing a photo of the town or their relationship with it. Photos can be shared on Facebook, tagging @getblackpoolreading and will form part of an online gallery. Entries will receive a free book.
Claire Walmsley Griffiths, local photographer and contributor to the project, said: “In many ways, Blackpool forms a perfect backdrop for films and television and features perhaps too commonly in mass media to highlight the UK’s complex socio-economic issues. But photography is a chance to explore your own story. Photography can challenge stereotypes – we can tell our own stories of Blackpool and what it’s like to live as a resident in a tourist town.”
The Young Adult Fiction Festival exhibition will be available to view at Blackpool Central Library for two weeks from 20 June 2022.