Saturday 24th October saw the Market Town Corner come alive with imagination again as we teamed up with the Loogabarooga Festival for a day of zine-making: The Loogabaroogarian's Guide to the Future! Poet and digital artist Nathan Jones and illustrator Sam Skinner from arts collective Mercy worked with participants to produce a zine, a DIY, self-published magazine, imagining what Loughborough will be like in the year 2188. The workshop examined key themes of both Market Town (local production, creatively imagining the future of the town) and the Loogabarooga Festival, an exciting new annual event celebrating illustrated children's literature and Loughborough's history as the original producer of the world-famous Ladybird Books.
The workshop began with games of chance, where dice and spinners produced random figures that became the statistics of the future Loughborough: the population, the temperature, even the weather conditions. Nathan and Sam then spoke about how these different factors might impact the lives of the town's residents - where might people live if the weather was much hotter? How would their lives be different in a future with few work hours and lots of free time? If the population was a lot bigger, how would the town change as a result?
They had brought with them large colour photocopies of Loughborough Past and Present, a hugely successful Ladybird book from 1988 which celebrates the history and features of the town. With sections on industry, diseases, historic battles, and culture, this book provided some intriguing themes for adaptation: the bubonic plague became a 'super flu' whose sufferers sneeze until their noses fall off, ancient swordfights became epic laser battles, and Loughborough Fair became a place where you can have organs replaced with robot parts whilst waiting in line for the carousel! A range of images, from real-life locations to renderings of futuristic machines and buildings, led to some surprising clashes of the real and the imaginary.
Before long the zine-making was well underway - ideas and paper were flying everywhere! The futuristic theme provided the perfect starting point for some weird and wonderful visions of Loughborough, and we heard some fantastically imaginative suggestions. We loved them all, but our favourite has to be converting the Town Hall into a place for cooking giant future fish, which will be so huge they can feed the whole town! It looks like in the future, none of us will have to worry about a lack of kitchen space...
All the drawings, collages, writing, and ideas shared during the workshop were collected by Nathan and Sam, and they have already made a start on producing the final zine. Those who took part and provided their address will receive their copies in the post, but if you couldn't make it or forgot to give us your address don't worry - there will be lots of copies available for free at the Market Town Corner in Carillon Court Shopping Centre, just drop by and pick one up!