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An installation of books for all ages, exploring ways to reimagine our futures

3 people on an armchair surrounded by books and plants in the corner of a cafe
The Apocalypse Reading Room at Toynbee Studios, curated by speculative writer and artist Ama Josephine Budge (centre) and two residency Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson (left) and Mohammed Z Rahman (right). Photo by Bettina Adela

The Apocalypse Reading Room is an installation by speculative writer and artist Ama Josephine Budge: an on-site library, a world of talking stories in the face of environmental and social transformation, a gathering of all the books we might need to change the end of the world…

Explore the The Apocalypse Reading Room in person at Toynbee Studios in the Arts Bar & Café. This post-apocalyptic library installation is filled with books for all ages and you’re invited to come and read books exploring ways to build, transform, rethink, rewrite and reimagine our futures. 

The Apocalypse Reading Room is activated by two artists, Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson and Mohammed Z Rahman, who are taking part in a three-month long residency programme, a series of public events and writing blogs:

Listen the audio description by Dot Alma

Here is a list of audiobooks that we have in the Reading Room.

Engage online

Artsadmin · The Apocalypse Reading Room

Listen to recordings of talks with residency artists, Ama and invited guests on our Soundcloud.

You can still watch the digital version of The Apocalypse Reading Room: Room2Room, created in summer 2020, where guests were invited to read a section of their apocalypse survival guide from their favourite reading rooms. The readers included Nii Obodai, Victoria Sin, Pratibha Parmar, Kai-Isaiah Jamal, Ama Josephine Budge, Theodora Omambala.

The installation of The Apocalypse Reading Room at Toynbee Studios and residencies are produced and supported by Artsadmin, and are part of Season for Change, a national programme celebrating the environment and inspiring climate action in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle. This residencies are supported by BE PART and the installation is supported by ACT, through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

The Apocalypse Reading Room is supported from Future’s Venture Foundation, first realised in partnership with Free Word for their All The Ways We Can Grow season in 2019. Created with additional support from The Reading Agency, and donations by Housman’s Radical Bookshop, Skin Deep magazine and various publishers including Harper Collins, Hachette Children’s Group and Walker.

A virtual installation was realised in 2020 with support from Artsadmin, Bernie Grant Art Centre, Free Word, Future’s Ventures Foundation and Julie’s Bicycle.

We’ve been working hard to make Toynbee Studios as safe as possible for artists, audiences, hirers, café customers, tenants and staff. Read the safety measures we have in place. 
Hand sanitiser is provided for use before and after handling the books.
Our safety measures remain unchanged since 19 July and we are committed to an inclusive reopening.

  • The Arts Bar & Café is wheelchair accessible and there are wheelchair accessible toilets. Read more about Accessibility at Toynbee Studios.
  • All toilets at Toynbee Studios are gender neutral.
  • There is outdoor and distanced indoor seating.
  • There is an adjustable table attached to the armchair.
  • There is a magnifier in the Reading Room.
  • Listen to the audio description 
  • There are captioned videos of readings from the Room2Room Apocalypse Survival Guides (bring your own headphones for Covid safety – the computer requires a standard 3.5mm headphone jack).
  • Please email if you have any further access requests.
  • With thanks to Quiplash for their advice and support with access.

Date and time

1 July – 30 September 2021
Open Mon-Fri 10.30am-2.30pm; also open Saturdays in September, 12-6pm, and during public events

Please note
This is now a past event.


Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London, E1 6AB
Tel: 020 7247 5102
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