Leaping on the spot with Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury Festival returns in October and, this year, we’ve teamed up with our friends at the festival to offer two exciting projects for 26 members. Read on to find out more about what’s in store and how to get involved.

Bloomsbury in London is an extraordinary place. From a writer’s point of view it’s famous for ‘the Bloomsbury set’ of the early 20th century with Virginia Woolf at the centre. But there is so much more – and it is a completely international location through the people and places associated with it over the years.

26 has been proudly involved in the Bloomsbury Festival since it was founded four years ago. We’ve held events based on 26 projects such as Memory Maps and Armistice 100 Days. This year the Festival has expanded from a long weekend to ten days of activities reflecting Bloomsbury’s cultural diversity in the arts, academia, science and innovation.
It’s a place that has always fizzed with ideas. So we were delighted when Bloomsbury Festival responded positively to 26’s proposals for participation in the 2019 festival from 11 till 20 October https://bloomsburyfestival.org.uk

The theme this year marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing which lingers in collective memory through its images and also the words of Neil Armstrong when he stepped onto the surface: ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’. Our project #26Leaps asks the question: who in Bloomsbury’s past, present or even future has made or is making such a leap?

So with JP Muir, the festival’s programme director, the 26 team of John Simmons, Andy Hayes and Neil Baker have been researching and drawing up a list of 26 people associated with Bloomsbury. To reflect the range of world-leading ideas and people we’ve come up with a list that goes way beyond ‘the Bloomsbury set’. It contains 15 people from Bloomsbury’s past, eight from its present and three from its future (school students who might, for example, make the impact of a Greta Thunberg on the world).

We’ll reveal the list when we’ve allocated names to our volunteer writers. Thanks to all those 26 members who have put their names forward to make this another over-subscribed project. Congratulations if you make the final list, you’re in for an exciting exploration of people and ideas.

A second connection with this year’s Bloomsbury Festival is that ten writers from 26 will become writers in residence on each of the festival’s ten days. They’ll be asked to immerse themselves in the festival activities on a particular day, to observe, record and respond to their experiences with their own words. It’s an exciting way to flex your writers’ muscles and respond to what should be fascinating encounters with diverse cultures.

As with all our creative projects, we’ll need editors and project managers. Being involved is a great way to contribute, and take an active role in our community. And you’re sure to meet some brilliant new people on the journey. Just contact us.

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