Free Word Centre relaunches in Farringdon
Funded by Arts Council England, Free Word is a charity that brings together individuals and organisations working in the fields of literacy, literature and free expression to explore the transformative power of the word. The Centre on Farringdon Road, founded in 2007, has recently undergone renovations, and at last night’s re-launch director Rose Fenton spoke about the projects that Free Word has planned for 2014.
Described as a “creative laboratory”, Free Word unites six resident organisations – Apples and Snakes, ARTICLE 19, English PEN, The Literary Consultancy, Arvon, and The Reading Agency – with over 25 international associates. At the re-launch it was announced that Free Word’s programme for next year will be based around three lines of enquiry: The Power of Translation, How Might We Live Now? and Unheard Voices.
Only a limited amount of literature published in the UK is in translation, restricting access to work in other languages; The Power of Translation focuses on this issue. Aiming to promote translation, the Centre houses a library of translated fiction and hosts a frequent event, Translation Slam. For the past three years the Centre has also been home to two annually changing translators in residence – last night it was announced that 2014’s translators will be Lucy Greaves and Alice Guthrie.
How Might We Live Now? questions the role that writers might play in creating a more sustainable future for the planet, by imagining solutions to environmental issues. A key project is Weather Stations – a global initiative that will see five cultural institutions setting up “weather stations” where writers, scientists and philosophers will work together to create space for discussion on the topic of climate change.
The third enquiry, Unheard Voices, explores how words can help to sustain democratic societies by giving a platform to “silenced voices”. A recent project was the Reframe exhibition, a series of commissioned works by young artists from Algeria, Turkey and the UK, which explore differing attitudes towards Europe. At the re-launch it was also announced that Warsan Shire, Young Poet Laureate for London, will be starting a residency at the Centre.
An important and inspiring charity, Free Word has a programme of exciting upcoming events that is highly recommended to anyone interested in international literature and freedom of speech.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Free Word visit the charity’s website here.