Handbooks

Prescribed reading on all community arts degree courses; manna for countless artists and poets frustrated with the bureaucratic gatekeepers of our dominant arts culture

Eyes on Stalks

The Dead Good Funerals Book

An autobiographical roller coaster through three decades of wild inventions. From in London `Raising the Titanic' to `King Lear' on a Japanese ski slope the Eyes on Stalks covers the principal and practice of site specific theatre, extensive community residencies and new rites of passage. It brings `Engineers of the Imagination' up to date and is a hands on tract revealing Welfare State's radial philosophyof Art . Lavishly illustrated with 30 photographs, scripts and over 100 drawings from John Fox's sketch book. it is an exciting and provocative manual.

 

"EYES ON STALKS is a book you must read - wise, committed and beautifully written. Not too misty eyed. The title comes from WSI's old slogan 'Eyes on Stalks, not Bums on Seats', and at the end of the introduction Fox gives his own kind of blessing: 'May your eyes wobble in their sockets, your creative juices boil over and your bum never ache". Sideshow -Contemporary Circus Magazine June 2011

 

"Thanks to John Fox and his merry men and women, the welfare of theatre in general is in a much better state and all the richer for their innovative approach. Read this book and you willl be able to stand on the shoulders of a truly eccentric giant and see where he is coming from." Ted Turton. Youth Drama Ireland.

 

"WSI have maintained their name and their principles of cultural activism. Having provided the reader with such a rich entertaining book, Fox could be forgiven a political rant.His final chapter, however is not an angry tirade but a thoughtful passionate call for the use of the arts for cultural change and the power of the artist as a creative catalyst." Emma Govan. Contemporary Theatre Review.

 

READ THIS BOOK!
"A must for anyone working, or thinking of working, in the community arts area and indeed anyone working in theatre of any sort. Fox's honest and frank style is refreshing and the knowledge that even the best have their problems is comforting. I found it one of those books that, once I had read it, I spent my whole time recommending it to everyone I know... It would warm the heart of the most devout cynic"! Eilís Nic Dhonncha (Co. na Gaillimhe, Ireland) - Amazon Customer Review

 

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Engineers of the Imagination

Dead Good Book of Namings and Baby Welcoming Ceremonies - Book Cover

By - Baz Kershaw and Tony Coult, Methuen, 1983,
revised 1990

 

A book to get thumbmarks and glue on, it explains the basic techniques of Welfare State International's work - the making of processions; large scale puppets; fixed structures; fire and ice technology; processional, theatre and dance music, celebratory food and feasts and much more. Still the definitive work on art in the community.

 

An excellent combination of theory and practice
"John Fox and Welfare State's work is still (if not increasingly) relevant today. Their radical approach to community-based performance has changed over the years, but one thing has remained constant: their concern for society and humanity. This book offers an excellent overview of some of their work, as well as a practical handbook on how to do it yourself. Unfortunately, the book is limited in its scope and doesn't cover the full development of WSI and John Fox's work. But there's enough to get you interested and search elsewhere for more. Great inspiration, great reading, great reference."
A Customer - Amazon Review

 

The Haynes Manual of participatory theatre
"This review is from: Engineers of the Imagination: Welfare State Handbook (Biography and Autobiography) (Paperback)
An indespensable guide full of down-to-earth, practical advice on every, and i mean every, aspect of performance in public. far from being superceded by the internet, it has only become MORE useful as a tool to help people bridge the gap between the abstract - ideas, philosophy, cyberspace - and the concrete - materials, method, what you need and exactly how you're going to build it, dealing with people, organisations and even yourself. If you're an artist and want to connect with your audience in the streets, parks and fields, this is the book you will start and end with.
" Satur9 - Amazon Review

Fantastic book!
"This review is from: Engineers of the Imagination: Welfare State Handbook (Biography and Autobiography) (Paperback)
A hand book from a byegone age, but all the better for that. In the dark reign of Thatcher, post miners strike and a dole queue from here to Gibraltar this brilliant publication, with its sound practical advice for community/youth art projects, with everything from shadow puppetry to vast papier mache/cane spectacles....
1/2 Molesworth 1/2 Notting hill...........
Fantastic!
Although the basic techniques are now quite well known this particular compilation with it's ethos is the complete package and has more than held it's own for 20 years.
A must have for all community arts projects (although the good ones no doubt have one already, or one of the contributors at hand!)

I can still smell the PVA!"
Ms. Isobel M. Mackenzie - Amazon Review

 

Street Theatre Genius

"Engineers of the Imagination' is street-theatre genius and an absolute must for anyone interested in the many forms of street-theatre art. For anyone who wants to get their hands dirty and have a go Chapter 4, 'Core Techniques' is brilliant." Kristine Szulik - Amazon Review

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New Ground / Lost Seeds

The Dead Good Time Capsules Book

A 10 day arts and ecology project in West of Ireland, set in a therapeutic horticulture centre where associate artists Martin Brockman and Dan Fox worked with Dead Good Guides and Mayo Artsquad in May 2008 to involve local community artists in workshops designed to ask questions about Vernacular Art today.

 

Book design Tim Jackson.

 

Published in partnership with  Mayo County Council

 

 

 

"I have wolfed the book down .... Reading John's piece "a new role for the artist" is inspirational - and puts into words what I have been striving to articulate for ages. He's so right about artists having been "hi-jacked" ! Been there, done that and despaired. The relief in seeing these ideas written down not only refuels my dwindling energy reserves but also somewhat salvages my sanity ....." Andrew Kitchen

 

It's a beautifully designed book and the project it describes sounds amazing. Reading it was inspiring and gave me some badly needed hope." Clarke Mackay Head Dept of Film and Media Queens University Canada

 

"A wonderful creative project & such a well produced book too." Ellsworth Univ of Bristol Theatre Collection.

 

A lovely book - your lost and found project - inspirational steps in the future" Septimia Kuhlmann. Community artist Holland.  

 

         

  

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