2015 Cottage Watch
THE COTTAGE. The Cottage is to be a home for the dissenting imagination in England’s Green and Pleasant Land that honours William Blake’s uncompromising pursuit of truth, beauty and freedom
- ROOMS. Some rooms will be fitted as museum rooms, which would also function as work spaces; other rooms will be fitted for accommodation & living, fit for a variety of residents: guests involved in creative projects; artists seeking refuge from persecution (a House of Refuge); and paying visitors on a Landmark Trust-style scheme. The balance of these visitors is yet to be confirmed.
- ACTIVITIES. The Cottage will be open one or two days a week for day visitors; for the rest of the week, the rooms will be at the disposal of individuals and groups invited to work on creative projects (i.e. the Cottage acting as a space for writers’ and artists’ retreat). Each month the Cottage will host public events: conversations of Blakean interest with an artist or scholar, for instance, or exhibitions, or intimate concerts. Ideally those who are currently working in the Cottage would host these events; it would be a chance to display the fruits of their work. Again, the balance of these activities is yet to be confirmed.
- VISITOR CENTRE. Once the Cottage is established and self sufficient, we could turn our attention to the possibility of a separate visitor centre, either on the plot of land near the Cottage, or elsewhere in the local area. This would be a place for creation, whose core values are imagination and dissent. It would facilitate more day visitors, and it would provide a larger, more flexible collaborative space for groups of artists and minds (i.e. invited artists, authors, thinkers, philosophers and scientists) where they could produce work that reaches local galleries, universities and other institutions. It would be a true museum, a home for the muses.
We have discussed many proposals for the Blake Cottage, so it’s helpful to be clear about what Blake Cottage will not be. The Cottage will not be:
- a community centre;
- an educational centre;
- a literary museum, even if there are some museum-fitted rooms.