Bookshops For All artist in residence Michelle Collier chats to us about her residency so far…
“As a past resident of Glossop* I became fascinated by the local lore: strange lights skipping across the Longdendale Valley, whispers of the Old Gods, unexplained ghostly sightings. I couldn’t help but wonder what else inhabits this ancient valley and its dark peaks? And so, I decided to go looking…
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of being one of three artists in residence with George Street Community Bookshop, Glossop. The residencies are part of ‘Bookshops For All’, which invites artists to engage local communities with the bookshop in new ways, from walks, to talks, to hands-on creative workshops. As for me, I’m hoping to do a combination of all three!
“Already, I’ve spent time chatting with the locals**, digging up rare treasures in the form of folklore, unusual history and old myths. I’m hoping to take inspiration from this oft-otherworldly landscape to create new work in the form of a lino print illustration and perhaps a story or two.
I’ve been really humbled by the generosity, depth of knowledge and sheer volume of fascinating stories to be found here. I’ve heard tales of ghosts that haunt cellars, walkers that mysteriously vanish in the fog and several accounts of the Longdendale Lights (or Devil’s Bonfires, as they were once rather ominously known). Let’s just say my inspiration goblins won’t go hungry this October.
“Last weekend, I spun these yarns into a weird WAN.DER – a story-led walk around the local area, delivered with the support of Glossop Creates, KIN.DER and, of course, the bookshop. I came armed with a few stories to share, but the locals (around 25 walkers – thanks for coming!) blew me away with even more tall tales and strange local insight.
“This week, I’m hoping to take all of this inspiration (the people, the stories, the landscape) and start shaping some new tales. But it’s not just me getting creative! I want to invite you, the people of Glossop, to join me once more and come up with some new stories of your own.”
Here’s how you can get involved…
If you fancy trying your hand at creative writing, join Michelle for Writing the Weird on Sunday 9th October – a ‘flash folk’ writing workshop in the bookshop. Places are limited, so you’ll need to book for this one:: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/writing-the-weird-a-flash-folk-workshop-with-michelle-collier-tickets-430110982527?aff=eand
Michelle will also be hosting two printmaking drop-ins (20th & 22nd) and a live storytelling event at the end of the month (29th). All at George Street Community Bookshop this October. More info on those coming soon – watch this space!
In the meantime, happy weird hunting!
*Well, Hadfield if we’re being specific, but I took many a stroll along High Street and sunk many a pint at The Globe, so… close enough?
**From artists and musicians, to archaeologists, to local folklore experts… you have them all in Glossop!
Michelle Collier is a writer and printmaker with a background in writing for animation and digital experiences. As a print artist, she has exhibited at HOME, NOMA and the Manchester Print Fair, while her film and animation work has screened at DepicT!, London Short Film Festival, Underwire and the Manchester Animation Festival. Michelle was a lead writer on Civilisations AR – the BBC’s first-ever augmented reality app; a writer in residence for Manchester CIty of Literature’s inaugural Festival of Libraries; and the lead writer/narrative designer for The Keeper of Paintings and The Palette of Perception, a children’s immersive adventure game for The National Gallery, London. With a lifelong love of storytelling, Michelle’s own work tends towards the mythical and mystical, from the tall tales we tell in the dark, to the strange folklore that endures through the ages. All muddled together with a touch of the macabre and a dash of humour. Through her practice, she is interested in the potential of collaborative mythmaking, and exploring the many ways to tell a story, from flash fiction, to image making, to experimenting with AI and other emerging digital narrative tools. Find Michelle on Twitter and Instagram @mickeypip, or check out her websites at www.mickeypip.com and www.michellecollier.co.uk.