Best of 2012: Wordpool 2012

Wordpool has been running as Blackpool’s festival of words for seven years. It incorporates all activities to do with the written word for all ages and is an event (in a tourist town) with the local very much in mind.

I asked Lynne Pattinson, Arts Officer at Blackpool Council, some questions about Wordpool overall and this year’s events in particular.

About its local focus, she said:

We feel that as Wordpool celebrates words we have a flexible focus for the festival. This allows us to make our events more accessible to those who would not usually attend literature festivals. We market the festival widely throughout the North-West but target specific projects and events to local communities. We always run a Blackpool Schools programme prior to the festival.  Many people new to the arts have been reached through such programmes.

Some of the audience at Mandasue Heller and Kimberley Chambers Crime Writers talk at Layton Library.

I asked what they were particularly pleased with this year.

In 2012 we delivered 20 events, 62 workshops, 8 new commissions, 53 exhibition days and employed 52 artists/writers/poets.  The Wordpool blog was averaging 70 hits a day throughout October and November and Facebook  peaked at 545 in one day. AltBlackpool did some great reviews of the festival and they have over 800 followers. Our venture into Twitter was tentative!

One of those reviews here on AltBlackpool was for The Gramophones, a great night of entertainent about three women’s adventures travelling from Land’s End to John O’ ‘Groats.

Another event that did particularly well involved AltBlackpool’s Vicky Ellis delivering poetry sessions to an Arts for Health group that meets regularly in Blackpool. As Lynne mentioned, quoting the group organiser Sarah:

The group enjoyed the writing sessions so much [they were] encouraged to attend the Dead Good Poets and in the New Year four group members have organised to go with each other, one arranging to pick everyone up. They exchanged phone numbers and seemed like a group of friends when just ten weeks earlier they were strangers. This small act seemed massive to me as they were working as a group and supporting each other.  One commented that, ‘Vicky was an inspiration’, another said she wanted to ‘broaden her life by doing things like joining the writing group to enrich her life’. I felt this was an enormous step and will hopefully encourage other members from the Arts for Health group to join the writing group or other groups.

Given the current economic situation affecting local government (where most of Wordpool’s funding comes from) Lynne said:

We are currently evaluating Wordpool 2012 and using the feedback we gathered  to inform our plans for 2013. We hope that Wordpool will continue to go from strength to strength.

Let’s hope so and it will become even more well known and supported across the Fylde and paricularly in Blackpool.

For more pictures see the Wordpool Facebook site!

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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