Aylesbury Library Commission


Soap and Porridge: Tom Cross

We are delighted to announce that artist Tom Cross has been appointed for the Aylesbury Library commission.

Working in collaboration with writer Aoife Mannix, Tom will create an intergenerational piece of work using the starting point: ‘What are your first and what might be your most lasting memories?’

Tom will invite library users, staff and community groups in and around Aylesbury to participate in a series of workshops, performances and an installation in Aylesbury Library. Over the next few months the library will become a creative hub, with a small makers space created and run by the artist. The final installation will comprise the artist’s stories alongside those of participants, told in a mixture of animation, print, text and spoken word, and will be displayed in the library in March 2020.

“I am excited about working in collaboration with Aoife Mannix in Aylsebury library on Soap and Porridge, building on the library’s central place in the community and making the library an even more vibrant place to be part of.  I am looking forward to talking to communities in this cross-generational project, drawing on my own family history in the area, and sharing each other’s stories.” Tom Cross, artist

“We’re thrilled to be working with Tom, Aoife and the Aylesbury Library team to be creating extraordinary and unexpected experiences for everyone.” Katy Snelling, Farnham Maltings

All are invited to come and meet the artists when the project officially launches to the public at Aylesbury Library on Monday 7 October 11am – 2pm, as part of Libraries Week 2019.

About the Artists

Tom Cross is a visual artist who uses animation and drawing to tell his and other people’s stories. He graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic with BA (hons) in fine art and a Postgraduate Diploma in animation from St Martin’s School of Art. Tom’s previous commissions include animations by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bodleian library, and an installation for the foyer of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Currently Tom is working as a Creative Catalyst for Create Gloucestershire, helping two libraries in the Cotswolds develop their cultural offer. He is based just outside Banbury where he is also running creative wellbeing projects for vulnerable people of all ages. tomxarts.wordpress.com

Aoife Mannix is a poet and writer with extensive experience of working in community settings and libraries.  She has published four collections of poetry and a novel. She has previously been poet in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. She has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been writer in residence for Beckenham Library, Portsmouth Museum, and the Bronte Parsonage as well as Gosport Gallery’s Artists Rifles Exhibition. Aoife also lives in Oxfordshire.

This commission is part of a three-year project, funded by the Rothschild Foundation, to create the confidence, experience and networks for the communities of Buckinghamshire to present and commission live performance. The overall project is managed by Farnham Maltings who are working with Essex Cultural Diversity Project on this commission, in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council.