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Interactive ‘book’ installed in Huddersfield

The former BHS site in Huddersfield town centre is to be brought to life throughout the Huddersfield Literature Festival (HLF) with the installation of a giant illuminated book showing poetry and short films.

The ‘Codex’ book, a digital installation, created by local interactive arts company Impossible (www.impossible.org.uk), will be ‘switched on’ at a special ceremony at 5.30pm on Wednesday 1 March, attended by some of the featured poets and competition winners and the Chair of Huddersfield District Committee.

The installation will showcase a range of poems by established poets and competition winners, along with two specially commissioned animated films, clips from Festival events and phrases inspired by this year’s Festival theme of ‘Courage’ produced by Giles Bowman – animator.

The installation is part of the Festival’s Courage is Poetry Project and the wider Healthy High Street Group initiative, supported by Huddersfield District Committee.

Cllr Sheikh Ullah Chair of Huddersfield District Committee said: “The Huddersfield District Committee have provided the Literature Festival with a grant of £7500. The Festival is growing in strength year on year and providing funding like this helps to bring it onto the high street, and provide an additional reason for people to visit and spend time in our wonderful town. I would like to congratulate the local people whose poems will be featured on the installation, and would encourage people to pop by and have a look at the digital book and the posters that are displayed around the town.

“This is just one of the town centre activities that will be taking place this year as a direct result of the committees 53K funding, and whilst some of these are yet to be finalised I am confident that they will have a real impact on the town.

Anyone who is interested in the activities should come to the next committee meeting on the 21 March 2017.”

Michelle Hodgson, Festival Director, HLF, said “The aim of the Courage Is Poetry Project is to bring more people into the town centre and to encourage people to stay longer once they arrive. We also wanted to brighten up empty sites and bring the Festival to a wider audience. This project also found a different way to inspire established artists and local people to think about our Festival theme of ‘Courage’.

She continues: “We have worked with Impossible before and love the company’s approach of combining creativity and technology. We hope that our Poetry Trail and the installation will both achieve our goal and encourage more visitors to the town centre.”

Poetry Trail

In addition to the installation, the Festival has worked with more than 30 sites across the town centre to create a Poetry Trail, installing poems in the windows of shops and businesses and brightening up empty sites. Partners include the Kingsgate Centre, Packhorse Centre and Piazza; multinationals such as Boots, Marks & Spencer and Santander; independent businesses including local cafes and arcade shops; and Festival venues such as the University of Huddersfield and the Media Centre. (Full list of participants below)

The installation will comprise:

· Poems by five established poets appearing at the Festival: Festival Patron Lemn Sissay, who is appearing at the festival on 14 March; Owen Lowery a former judo champion who became a tetraplegic after an injury and will be performing at the Festival launch at the University of Huddersfield on 3 March; and three local poets, Rose Condo, Lisa M Luxx and Michael Stewart;

· 24 poems written by local people who entered the Courage Is Poetry competition run by HLF and supported by Kirklees Council. The 24 poems are provided by a winner, runner up, highly commended and nine finalists in each of two categories: Over 16 and Under 16;

· Two animated short films commissioned by the Festival and created by Leeds-based, deaf animator Giles Bowman. The films have been created to be enjoyed equally by all, including those who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing;

· Inspirational phrases about what courage means to local people, collected for the Festival’s Preview event in November and included at the bottom of each page of the Festival brochure. These were inspired by images taken by local postman and blogger, Kevin Boniface.

Now in its 11th year, the Huddersfield Literature Festival has grown to include more than 50 events at venues across the town. This year’s Festival takes place from 4-19 March 2017 with the theme of ‘Courage’, and includes many free and low-cost events, including some with live subtitling by Stagetext to make them accessible to those who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.

More information on the Festival can be found at: www.litfest.org.uk.

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