A giant book-shaped bed, set in a night-time dreamscape, forms the centrepiece of the first exhibition to take place at Peckham Platform
formerly Peckham Space as it launched in January 2014. Bookbed, a solo show from local contemporary artist Ruth Beale explores learning, imagination and the book-as-symbol alongside current thinking in culture, education and public space. The exhibition includes several oversize books, a small library and a low-fi, self-publishing station where visitors will be able to realise their own written work in print.
Beale is collaborating with Peckham Library, the iconic building next door to the gallery, on a series of creative writing workshops for young people. With the help of poet and storyteller Sandra Agard, they explore dreams, aspirations and imagination. The outcomes will be published on various platforms during the exhibition including as 140-character short stories on Twitter.
Beale sees the exhibition as a celebration of the librarys success at a time when across the country and in nearby London boroughs, libraries and the services they provide are under threat:
Libraries are one of the few meeting points between society and the individual, public and private. However mediated, they represent more than the sum of their parts because they offer us both practical services and the potential for educational and cultural development on our own terms. Like all public services, their value is being scrutinised in financial terms, and I wonder if that symbolic power can ever be measured. Working with young people at Peckham Library actually a real success story will be an opportunity to use the library as a creative space, and to explore these concepts of the book and library in the collective imagination.
Bookbed will host a number of public events including a self-education symposium, readings, storytelling, late-night openings and a creative writing workshop. Finally, members of the public will be invited to book the Bookbed for their own discussions, reading and writing groups.
In January, Peckham Space became Peckham Platform. The organisation continues to deliver an exciting exhibition programme in the same space at the heart of Peckham's community. However, this is much more than a change of name. Peckham Platform has charitable status, independent from University of the Arts London. This allows it to pursue an ambitious new vision to provide an expansive platform for different voices and debate; widening the range, scale and ambition of its aim to bring contemporary social practice alive.
Emily Druiff, executive director of Peckham Platform said: Peckham Space has had extraordinary impact and success since we launched in 2010 and Id like to thank all of the organisations, individuals and visitors who have supported us. Its now extremely exciting to be working with our new chairperson Richard Watts who is guiding the organisation as it evolves. Peckham Platform will be a leader in social contemporary art that challenges and engages across our community and beyond.