You are here

  1. Home
  2. Events


Reading Communities staged a series of public events throughout 2016. The project visited Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London. All our events were free to attend.

Liverpool, 10-11th March

Held in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Liverpool, the ‘Writing Lives’ collaborative project, and The Athenaeum, the theme of this event was ‘Reading and Self-Improvement’ in the past and the present. Events included a RED workshop on the history of reading in Liverpool, reading circles and discussion groups; public lectures; and viewing of the ‘Knowledge is Power’ exhibition in the Victoria Gallery & Museum. Watch our short film here:

Liverpool: a City of Readers

Belfast, 12th April 

Held in partnership with The Open University in Northern Ireland (Belfast) and Verbal Arts Centre, this event took place in the OU Belfast space, as well as at Belfast's oldest library, Linen Hall Library (established 1788). The theme of the day was ‘Is there such a thing as a Northern Irish reader?’. A RED workshop on the theme of Ulster readers in the database was be followed by a volunteer ambassador talk on C. S. Lewis, and an evening public talk and readings. For full details and the programme, watch our short film from Belfast:

Northern Irish readers from the Past

Edinburgh, 7th June

Hosted in partnership with The Writers’ Museum, this event was held at Edinburgh City Art Centre, as well as the Writers' Museum. The theme ‘Edinburgh: a city of reading’ included the following events: a RED workshop; a guided walking tour of the Writers' Museum; and readings of short extracts from the past and the present from Edinburgh readers, both famous and ordinary.

Birmingham, 16th August

This event was be held at the Impact Hub Birmingham, and the day's theme focused on ‘migration and memories of reading’, both in the past, and the present. Shared reading activities and a roundtable discussion ran concurrently with an oral history collection workshop, where members of the public told us about their family histories of reading. We also visited Zellig, to conduct intergenerational reading activities on their reading benches. The event concluded with a public performance by Gauri Raje, of her storytelling piece 'Tales of Exile and Sanctuary'.

London, 15-16th September

This two day event was held at Senate House, and consisted of an academic conference on Thursday 15th September, and a public engagement workshop on Friday 16th September. The overall theme of the event was 'memory, reading, and world war'. A conference on the theme of ‘connecting past and present readers’ took place on Thursday 15th September, with a keynote lecture from distinguished book historian, Professor Simon Eliot. On the second day, we ran a public engagement and oral history workshop, offering talks from the Great Diary Project, 'show and tell' workshops and a showcase of the UK Punjab Heritage Association WWI exhibition.

Edinburgh, 22nd November

As part of the Scottish Book Trust's Book Week Scotland event and participating in the Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities 2016, the Reading Communities team will be holding another 1 day event on the theme of 'Edinburgh: A City of Readers'. We will have 'hands on' facilitated reading group activities, as well public readings from the works of Scottish writers past and present at Blackwell's Book Shop, Edinburgh South Bridge.

Reading Communities: Connecting the Past and the Present, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project

Project Logo
Joint AHRC/OU logo
OU logo

Reading discussions at our Liverpool events

Contact us

If you are interested in the project, have any questions, or would like to get involved with our events and/or oral history collections, please do not hesitate to contact us at We'll be in touch as soon as we can.

Get in touch with the project on