This year, the BBC and the Arts Council have teamed up to create The Space: a new multimedia experimental arts platform. It consists of 53 individually funded projects, incorporating dance, film, literature, theatre and music, and aims to re-imagine how the arts and the media may collaborate to offer new experiences and reach new audiences.
The Nottinghamshire-based Alan Sillitoe Committee was one of the few organisations selected for its project Sillitoe: Then and Now. Chosen out of over 800 other applicants, it was the only successful literature project outside London, where the London Review of Books and Faber and Faber also received funding. Our aim now is to create The Sillitoe Trail: a literary journey through Alan Sillitoe’s Nottingham, based on his iconic 1958 novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Taking five key locations from the book, Old Market Square, the White Horse pub, Raleigh Bicycle Factory, Trent Embankment and the annual Goose Fair, the trail will take the form of a GPS-enabled mobile app in the style of a 1950s illustrated cycle maintenance handbook. As well as this, these famous places will be visited by some of Nottingham’s best current writers who have been commissioned to explore the novel’s themes in essays for The Space site. We hope this will encourage people to share their pictures, memories and comments via Facebook, Twitter and other social spaces.
Created by writer James Walker and creative director Paul Fillingham, The Sillitoe Trail should therefore not only raise the profile of one of Nottingham’s leading literary figures and attract new audiences to the novel but stimulate debate and creative output.
In what is certainly an ambitious venture then, The Space sets out to redefine the relationship between the arts and the media, by challenging conventions and embracing new subjects. ‘Imagine that the arts can start over with how its many and multitudinous strands might work in a host of different ways with screens and with audiences‘ writes author John Wyver. We like to think The Sillitoe Trail, with its innovative bringing together of literature and technology, is well on the way to achieving this goal.
You can help support our project by visiting us on http://www.thespace.org/items/s40001nq and by following Arthur Seaton, the protagonist of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, on Twitter – @thespacelathe.
Emma Hayes is part of the team producing The Sillitoe Trail