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The Apocalypse Reading Room

Ama Josephine Budge

Two people sit at a table reading books
The Apocalypse Reading Room at Free Word Centre. Original graphic design: Denny Kaulbach; Photography: Rowan Spray

During a time of many social, political and environmental apocalypses, could we read enough to shape a new future? 

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

The Apocalypse Reading Room transforms a public arts space into a post-apocalyptic library installation filled with books for all ages, exploring ways to build, transform, rethink, rewrite and reimagine our futures. 

In summer 2020, we presented a digital version of The Apocalypse Reading Room: Room2Room with online readings published weekly. Selected guests were invited to read a section of their apocalypse survival guide from their favourite reading rooms: nooks, living rooms, bedrooms, attics, garages, closets, stairwells and basements.

You can explore the reading room in person at Toynbee Studios from 1 July – 30 September 2021 as the library will be installed in the Arts Bar & Cafe. The Apocalypse Reading Room will be activated by two artists who will take part in a paid three-month long residency programme at Artsadmin’s home, Toynbee Studios.

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 support 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.

Date Title Venue City
28 July – 11 September 2020 The Apocalypse Reading Room: Room2Room
Two people sit at a table reading books
The Apocalypse Reading Room at Free Word Centre. Original graphic design: Denny Kaulbach; Photography: Rowan Spray
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