Artist in Residence

What is your first memory? What might be your lasting memory?

Artist Tom Cross and poet Aoife Mannix will be telling your stories in images and words in an exciting project called Soap and Porridge. Tom will invite library users, staff and community groups in and around Aylesbury to participate in a series of workshops, performances and an installation in Aylesbury Library.

Artist Tom Cross working at Aylesbury LibraryTom will have a weekly presence at Aylesbury Library, alongside Aoife, until the end of March 2020 so you can see the project grow and progress.

The final installation will comprise the artist’s stories alongside those of participants, told in a mixture of animation, print, text and spoken word.


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"This project is a fantastic opportunity for people who might not visit a gallery or theatre to engage with arts and culture on their doorstep.  The recently refurbished Aylesbury Library is a great space to host our first Artist in Residence and I hope lots of local residents will take part in the workshops over the next few months." - Cllr Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health 


Tom Cross is a visual artist who uses animation and drawing to tell his and other people’s stories. He graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic with BA (hons) in fine art and a Postgraduate Diploma in animation from St Martin’s School of Art. Tom’s previous commissions include animations by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bodleian library, and an installation for the foyer of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Currently Tom is working as a Creative Catalyst for Create Gloucestershire, helping two libraries in the Cotswolds develop their cultural offer. He is based just outside Banbury where he is also running creative wellbeing projects for vulnerable people of all ages.

Aoife Mannix is a poet and writer with extensive experience of working in community settings and libraries.  She has published four collections of poetry and a novel. She has previously been poet in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. She has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has been writer in residence for Beckenham Library, Portsmouth Museum, and the Bronte Parsonage as well as Gosport Gallery’s Artists Rifles Exhibition. Aoife also lives in Oxfordshire.

Our Partners

This commission is part of a three-year project, funded by the Rothschild Foundation, to create the confidence, experience and networks for the communities of Buckinghamshire to present and commission live performance. The overall project is managed by Farnham Maltings who are working with Essex Cultural Diversity Project on this commission, in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council.

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