Nuneaton Library announces its first Artist in Residence

Nuneaton Library is delighted to announce the appointment of visual artist and poet Mary Courtney as its first Artist in Residence. This residency is taking place as part of the Warwickshire Poetry Voices’ Poetry+ programme. Poetry+ was setup as a way to explore the relationship between poetry and other art forms, and this is the second year that an artist has been commissioned to create a new piece of artwork inspired by poetry.

Mary, who lives in Coventry, will begin her residency at Nuneaton Library on Wednesday 20th September, and will spend time working with local people of all ages to create a brand-new artwork called ‘Wordrobe’: a transformed wardrobe where clothes speak and words and poems are invented.

Mary says:

“C.S. Lewis brought a wardrobe, a lion and a witch together in Narnia. We’ll bring a wardrobe, poetry and people together in Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone Libraries. I’m really excited to be part of this adventure, making an art-poetry curiosity; a ‘Wordrobe’ out of a wardrobe, in a library, with the people of Nuneaton.”

Mary continues:

“A wardrobe is like a book, which is why it is perfect for an art-poetry project in a library. Both a book and a wardrobe can open and reveal, hide and surprise. The brand-new word, ‘Wordrobe’ was made up especially for this project. We’ll decorate its insides with poems and drawings inspired by poems – and fill it with who knows what. There’ll be free workshops making emotional masks, poems on hangers and revolting rhymes on terrible ties. The workshops in the library will be for people of all ages – to doodle, draw, make stuff, have a go at poems – and bring the ‘Wordrobe’ to life”.

Cllr Kaur said: “Portfolio Holder for Customers said:

“Warwickshire Libraries have always actively promoted the appreciation and participation in the creative arts. It is great news for the local people of Nuneaton and Bedworth that Nuneaton Library is able to welcome its first artist in residence.”

The new artwork will be unveiled at Nuneaton Library on Saturday 18th November.

To create the artwork, Mary will also be delivering a series of FREE workshops in Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone Libraries. All workshops are FREE to attend and suitable for adults, teenagers and children 6yrs+ (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Artworks from the workshops will be exhibited as part of the final ‘Wordrobe’ exhibition.

‘Through the Wordrobe’ workshop programme

All workshops are drop-in and free to attend

Fantastical Masks

Wednesday 20th September, 2.30pm – 5pm, Nuneaton Library

Thursday 26th October, 10.30am – 1pm, Nuneaton Library

Make an emotional mask – fantastical, brooding, happy, moody or wordy. Drawing inspiration from traditional African masks, have a go at making your own which will also feature some poetry on the back.

Tie-Po Sculptures

Tuesday 26th September, 10am – 1pm, Nuneaton Library

Turn an everyday tie into a sculpture! Could it be a snake? Perhaps a piece of abstract art? Whatever you decide, join us for this special workshop ‘tie-ing in’ with the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Freedom’.

Hanger Dandy Doodles

Tuesday 10th October, 10.30am – 1pm, Bedworth Library

Hangers have a boring life. Nobody takes any notice of them. They’re in the wardrobe draped in clothes if they’re lucky. If not, just left dangling. We’re going to change that! Decorate them, make them into vibrant pieces of art with drawings and words. We will drape them in poems. They will be stars of the Wordrobe stage!

Doodling Poems

Tuesday 3rd October, 2pm – 4.30pm, Atherstone Library

Saturday 14th October, 10am – 1pm, Nuneaton Library

Create a new ‘found poem’ by highlighting words or phrases on a page in a discarded book – and create doodles to decorate the page.

Speaking Clothes

Friday 20th October, 2.30pm – 4pm, Bedworth Library

Saturday 4th November, 10am – 1pm, Nuneaton Library

What if a dress could talk? What tale might it tell? What about a bargain with a tag on it, a forgotten item at the back of the wardrobe? What would they say if they could talk? We’ll invent “clothes lines” – words from speaking clothes and turn these into poems.

‘Through the Wordrobe’ launch event

Saturday 18th November, 11am – midday, Nuneaton Library

Join us to celebrate the end of our Poetry+ Project, as we unveil our finished ‘Wordrobe’ in all its glory. As part of the event, there will be poetry performances and an opportunity to open the ‘Wordrobe’ doors and discover all the wonderful things inside.

This Artist in Residence scheme is part of the Arts Council England funded Warwickshire Poetry Voices project, which is run by Warwickshire Library service. For more information, visit