Friends of Rock Road Library invited us to explore this question with them as they continued to redevelop their garden space in 2015.
CCI artists Filipa Pereira-Stubbs and Sally Todd worked with four classes from Morley Primary School to think together on how this space can be a friendly one for both nature and the people of all ages who might want to spend time out there. Their ideas informed a brief for willow artist Debbie Hall as she worked with volunteers to shape new structures to enhance the library steps and fences, working with local groups and residents. In May half-term we invited everyone from the community to spend time in the space and make their own creative contribution. The willow work can be visited at any time in the garden and the other posts below document the process involved in creating it.
The friendly garden project has been a brilliant opportunity for our children to see their ideas and creativity represented in their local community beyond the school gates. By being involved in the creation of the garden not only have they had the chance to work with artists to inspire them but they also feel a sense of ownership of that space and regularly comment to teachers on what they see happening in ‘their’ garden on their way to school. The library profile has been raised and our children and families are using the facilities in ways which they may not have done previously. As one child said ‘ I love our very own secret garden’.
If community assets such as libraries are to survive in time of such austerity and cuts they need to become places which are owned and used by local people and I think this project has been a great way of doing that.
Nikki Brown, Headteacher, Morley Primary School
Further information about the work of Friends is here. https://friendsofrockroadlibrary.wordpress.com
The project was made possible by a S106 Public Art Grant from Cambridge City Council.