The Booth Museum of Natural History
From Sept ‘14 to Aug ‘15 Mick will be the writer-in-residence at The Booth Museum, Brighton, funded by Arts Council England.
Edward Booth (1840-1890) was a naturalist who set himself the challenge of collecting, stuffing and displaying every British bird. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge but was sent down, as rumour has it, for spending his time shooting on the Fens rather than studying. His collection is unique, not least because it was the first to present the birds in dioramas recreating their natural habitat. It was a private collection but after his death was left to Brighton Corporation who, in the late 20th other collections with it, notably insects, bones and minerals to create a natural history museum.
During the residency Mick will be running creative writing workshops in the museum, using some of its rarely-seen artifacts. Details will be posted on the ‘Brighton Pavilion and Museums’ website and Mick’s twitter account. He will also be carrying out his own research and plans to write a series of short fictions in response to the collection. Readings from these fictions will take place towards the end of the residency. He is also planning a collaboration with academic and artist, Tom Shakespeare.
If you’d like to get in touch with Mick regarding the residency, click here.
Mick was the writer-in-residence at the Science Museum between 2011-12 where he ran weekly one-to-one writing surgeries for the museum’s staff, carried out his own research and contributed to in-house publications.
‘Junior Science’, a collection of three stories was published by Faber and Faber as an e-book to coincide with the residency. The stories were broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
A short story, ‘Information regarding the stars’, was commissioned by The Verb, BBC Radio 3 (inspired by a visit to the museum’s observatory) and can be read here (link).
He also wrote a short memoir, My Running Hell, about the travails of the everyday jogger (against the backdrop of the London Olympics), available to read here (link).
Mick delivered a lecture and powerpoint display at the Cheltenham Festival on the subject of surgery, as part of an evening presented by Prof Roger Kneebone of Imperial College.
He also contributed an essay to the catalogue for the opening exhibition of Media Space (Only In England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr)
Fabrica is a contemporary art gallery in Brighton. In April-May, 2007, Mick had a residency in the gallery to accompany the Brian Griffiths’ sculpture, ‘Beneath the Stride of Giants’ – a boat created from old furniture.
For six weeks Mick lived in the gallery, kept a diary and ran writing workshops. At the end of his residency he delivered a lecture and slide show titled, ‘All at sea with the Barbarians’ detailing how he accompanied the exhibit as it sailed from the Saatchi Gallery on the Thames in central London, around the Kent coast and up onto the beach at Brighton.