Love-in-idleness was the name Shakespeare gave to a small purple flower, the juice of which is planted in various people's eyes in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Love as ever-changing, transformative and beyond the control of the lovers. This is the inspiration for a series of workshops leading to an interactive showcase which we are doing this summer in the Scunthorpe and Barton region as part of the North Lincolnshire Council Shake Shakespeare 2016 project.
The project is led by North Lincolnshire Library Services, in partnership with Arts Development and Words Count. It aims to increase awareness of the library service, and the accessibility of Shakespeare's work in this 400th anniversary year, through creative coding workshops and exhibitions. The project was funded by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts Libraries Fund.
We've done a series of workshops at Ashby Library and Barton Library. Here are some of the results. We're excited to hear that they are starting their own coding club this summer with a series of 6 sessions in Scratch coding for beginners at Ashby Library.
We did a couple of great session with schoolkids from Grange Primary School at Ashby - each of the kids learnt basic coding, creating their own animating patterns using coordinates to position multi-coloured rectangles, lines, ellipses and text. They also loaded up images of wings and their own face transforming themselves into fluttering Shakespearean forest creatures.
We didn't have time to apply morphing to their faces but each kid chose what they wanted to be morphed into and we will put this together for them. Here's an example of Nicola being morphed into a donkey, just like in the play.
We also did a few workshops open to the public in the libraries - these were shorter and we got the participants to create animating bricks. These will be put together into a wall of creative coding which will be a back drop for some interactive elements when the work is shown in the future. Here are some of the bricks created. Great to see the variety of the results.
We did two sessions at 2021 and these went really well - one kid even came back for the second week. Working with families is great as it means an even more diverse set of kids can have a go with help from their parents. We even had a 3 year old have a go for half an hour. Here are the results. All these bricks will be be built into an amazing animating wall.
We'll be visiting Scunthorpe again in October. This time working with older schoolkids and also running a session with the North Lincs arts admin and library staff. We'll be getting them to code too, showing them how easy it is to get going with creative coding and helping them to think about ways in which this project can be taken forward.
We've also made a creative coding booklet to accompany the workshops and to be handed to the visitors of the shows. It gives a really simple guide to starting coding with the Processing language.
The results of the workshops will be combined into some large scale interactive art works which we will be shown in some special venues in North Lincs over the summer. Watch this space for more details and to see the individual workshop results.