Business & IP Centre Devon

Pop Up Library on Exeter Highstreet!

Exeter Library and BIPC Devon go on Tour!

BIPC Devon is taking part in a break-out initiative to bring library services, business support, and creativity to people on the high street, pioneered by Libraries Unlimited in Exeter.

The former GAP store is being transformed into a pop-up library and art studio in which local sculptor James Lake will bring to life a life-size cardboard tree. The piece will take around six weeks to finish (Wednesday 21st September to Monday 30th October) and will eventually be installed in Barnstaple Library.

While the sculpture is being created, the shop will become an interactive public space, and passers-by will be invited to watch James at work and take part in a variety of drop-in workshops and exhibitions, including free BIPC business support drop-in sessions every Wednesday from 10 am-4 pm!  There will also be a pop-up high street library for people to sign up to the library, browse and borrow books.

Richard Love, BIPC Devon Business Engagement and Marketing Manager said:

“The creative focus of the space gives us at BIPC an excellent opportunity to explore the relationship between arts and commerce, and encourage entrepreneurship within this sector. The creative industries not only add economic value to a local high street (the creative sector contributed over £104bn to the British economy in 2021 alone) but have to unique capacity to cultivate connection and a sense of community. Our Wednesday drop in’s will of course offer business support to anyone, whatever sector they are interested in starting a business in! But we are certain that the creative energy within the space will help keep those entrepreneurial ideas flowing!”

The cardboard tree sculpture, once complete, will take its place at the heart of Barnstaple Library for people to see. People will be able to gather, meet, browse books, and read beneath its canopy. Decorated to reflect the cyclical nature of the seasons, it will show the evolving role of the library as it becomes inhabited by different community groups.

Artist James Lake works primarily in cardboard, which he values for its immediacy and relatively low environmental impact, producing life-sized renditions of people, animals, and sometimes furniture and other large objects. He developed his method as a teenager while confined to bed recovering from an operation to amputate his right leg after he developed cancer. James’ work is created in pieces and put together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, adding a problem-solving aspect to his work that, as a person with dyslexia, he enjoys.

Rae Hoole, Creative Communities Producer at Libraries Unlimited said: “This is going to be a really exciting, eye-catching and unusual six weeks on Exeter High Street. There will be street performers outside and inside a range of workshops including crafts, zine-making and storytelling. There will be a virtual reality facility, and, as it’s running across half-term, plenty of family activities. We really hope it catches people’s attention, sparks new interests, and above all is lots of  fun!”

The shop will also host Princesshay’s ‘We Can Do More’ sustainability campaign, and exhibits from other partner charities and organisations.

The shop will be open Monday to Saturday between 10 am and 4 pm, with BIPC Business Support Drop In’s every Wednesday from 10 am-4 pm

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