Celebration Series Blog 3: Mindreading… in Dursley Library

Mindreading banner.jpg

At the end of March last year, a rather unusual event took place in Dursley library; after the doors closed for the evening, the Dursley team, the creative catalyst and selected members of the Dursley community embarked on two hours of mindreading training! 

I have been in awe of the Dursley library team on countless occasions for their apparent ability to mind read! I have sat baffled as I have listened quietly in the background to a customers’ vague and uncertain question about a book, film, local landmark or computer issue and then watched in amazement as Jane, Julie, Janine or one of the other fantastic team members respond without hesitation. So when I met Stuart Nolan, who leads an exciting art project called 1000 mindreads teaching people to mind read, I thought “why don’t we invite him to Dursley!”

So we did. 


1000 mindreads is a year-long collaborative artwork during which the artist / magician Stuart Nolan will train one thousand new mindreaders in 2018. The trainee mindreaders learn the skill of muscle reading, sensing the small subconscious movements of another person’s hands and recreate drawings that another person is merely thinking of.  We invited regular customers, teachers, community builders, even the Doctor to take part. The idea was simple, I wanted to bring together a community of people who spend their days and nights trying to make positive things happen for young people in Dursley, and invite them to spend an evening together having fun and doing something silly. The hope was that in a non-pressured work situation, learning a skill that none of us would have thought possible (sorry Stuart!) we could form stronger relationships to support our day jobs. We even ate Fat Toni’s Pizza (a treat I normally reserve for enticing teenagers into the library).

It was a lot of fun, and there were some frighteningly strange mindreading successes, but mostly I hope the evening will be remembered by that community as the time they learnt to mind read in the library. It isn’t just children who need reminding what a wonderful space a library can be, a space where anything can happen.

We invited the community who mind read that evening to be part of ‘creative board’ for Dursley Library. The board will be a small community who meet quarterly and help to support fun and creative projects in the Library space. I hope the board will reflect the inspiring and exciting people in that room.

1000 mind reads has taken place in London, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Plymouth, Helsinki, Brighton, Padua, Bath, LA, Las Vegas, Edinburgh, Lima, and Manchester and Dursley. The drawings and the found objects will be exhibited in 2019.


- By Sarah Warden, Creative Catalyst