Case Study

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of this project. You’re great partners.”

Date published: 2 Jul 2024

Posted by: Joe Pick

Close-up of two children's hands pointing at a colorful patchwork. The textile features a variety of bright and patterned squares, each with unique designs and textures, creating a vibrant mosaic effect.

Sandra Edis is Communities Team Leader for Nottingham City Libraries. City Arts worked with Sandra on our heart in Libraries’ project. The project was based on heart, our previous collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s Biodiscovery Institute and Lakeside Arts. The libraries project reconvened the partners to bring science and art to a new audience: primary school pupils.

City Arts, the Biodiscovery Institute and artist Anna Wickramasinha led workshops at Clifton Library. We used art to teach the public and school pupils about the cells and structures in the human heart. The resulting heart cell inspired textile artworks were bound into a book by Anna. Schools that took part include Forest Fields Primary School, Dovecoat Primary School and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The book was revealed at the launch of Nottingham’s Festival of Science and Curiosity.

Children sitting at a table covered with colorful paper, markers, and crafting supplies. One child in a green shirt is drawing on a piece of paper with a red marker, while other children and adults' hands are also visible, engaged in various art activities.
Photo by Lamar Francois

Sandra spoke to us about the experience of working in partnership with City Arts:

I went to the launch of the original heart project at City Arts. I loved the concept so much I enquired about how we can get it in to libraries and worked with Chris Denning from the Biodiscovery Institute to put the concept together. I’m interested in bringing different partners into the libraries to work together on big projects.

With the rest of the team, I helped to come up with the concept for how the workshops would run. I contacted the schools in the first instance and booked space at the library. I co-ordinated with Laura from City Arts, and Aishah from the Biodiscovery Institute, to time the launch of the book at the Central library to coincide with the launch of the Festival of Science and Curiosity.

Overhead view of several children's hands placed on a colorful circular artwork on a black backing. The children are wearing green shirts and are gathered closely around the artwork, engaging in a tactile activity.
Photo by Lamar Francois

I’ve enjoyed every bit of this project. Working with City Arts is really up there as one of the things I most enjoyed. You’re great partners. Long may it continue! City Arts and the libraries service have worked together before but not in the community libraries. It’s a perfect match because as much as you want to access the people in the community, we, as libraries, want to offer people new experiences.

I think the partnership worked brilliantly. I love it when partners gel like we did. We had an idea for a project, then we worked on it again and came up with an even better idea. We thought on our feet when things didn’t go to plan and worked it out and resolved it straight away. That’s what happens when you work with great partners, I have had experiences where that hasn’t happened.

The ‘heart in Libraries’ collaboration is a great example of the benefits of working in partnership with other organisations in the city. Organisations come together and pool resources. They share expertise to bring exciting new opportunities and experiences to people in the community. Since working together on this project, City Arts and Nottingham City Libraries have teamed up to tour early years puppet shows to libraries across the city as part of Nottingham Puppet Festival.

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