Founded in 1669, Bishop John Cosin’s Library is one of the earliest public libraries in the north of England. It was established for the use of Church of England clergy, lawyers and other educated gentlemen in the Diocese of Durham. Until 1858 the diocese consisted of Durham and Northumberland. In 1833, the Library formed part of the newly established University of Durham and since 1937 the University is the sole trustee for the building and its contents. In 2005, the library was awarded Designated status by the MLA (the predecessor of Arts Council England) in recognition of its national significance.
I’m part of an artist residency at the library which I am currently working on, with Lady Kitt. The pandemic has meant much of the planning has to be done so that workshops will run remotely as plan A, then making a plan B if were are able to invite groups/schools (depending on the status of lockdown etc)
Researching old texts and books is interesting, albeit virtually, but I really cannot wait for a site visit to the library in December. I used the online archive: https://library.dur.ac.uk/ to look up some texts.
The aim of the residency is to make the Library more discoverable to people, whilst sharing knowledge of the place and making it more welcoming to different groups. The plan is to include different schools, groups and people in workshops with myself and Lady Kitt.
The residency is funded with The Art’s Council England. I hope to share more news and updates on my blog as we go 🙂