YOUNG people in Worcestershire are being invited to take part in the second phase of a ground-breaking arts project to challenge people’s expectations about the role of libraries in the community.

Eight young people in the county have already been involved in the major innovative venture called A Place Free Of Judgement enabling them to work with internationally renowned artists. Two other library services – Telford and Wrekin and Staffordshire – are also taking part in this three-way project.

During the summer months the Worcestershire young people attended workshops run by artists group Blast Theory where they learned to use cameras and recording equipment, do live streaming and webcasting and contribute to story writing with acclaimed author Tony White.

They were local young carers, young people who have been in the carer system and are now moving on and University of Worcester students nearing the end of their courses.

Now the county library service is throwing the doors open for more young people aged 16 to 21 to come forward and take part in a workshop on Saturday October 8 from 10am to 4pm, further workshops on October 27 and 28 from 10am to 4pm and organising a live performance.

The projects culminates on Saturday October 29 in a nine-hour takeover of the libraries in St John’s, Worcester; Southwater, Telford: and Cannock in Staffordshire when the finished story will be delivered to live and online audiences in three parts before being made into a short film. After the event the story will be published in a book.

Worcestershire Libraries lead for young people Natalie McVey said opportunity would give young people the chance to help in the second phase of the project by setting up the performance at St John’s Library, do some of the filming, learn about state-of-the-art live streaming and welcome members of the audience on the night.

“We would like to hear from anyone who wants to experience something completely different. It is a ground-braking project which is partly digital and partly live. It is brand new and really pushing the boundaries for us,” she said.

“Each library has a three-hour slot, which incorporates a 45-minute reading of the story, before the story moves on to the next library. It is a bit like a performance relay.”

Rona Whitfield, aged 20, from Worcester is taking part in A Place Free Of Judgement and said: “Stories about our lives are a great way to find out about other people and learn about the world. I really enjoy anything art, performance and anything creative.

“I’m super excited for it to really take shape and for all my friends and family to see what we manage to create in this unique way."

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member with Responsibility for Localism and Communities said: "A Place Free of Judgement is a wonderful opportunity for young people across the county to become more involved with the arts and their local library, and to explore their interests with internationally renowned artists. The project offers a chance to get involved with a variety of different aspects of the arts, including writing, filming, planning and performing.”

For information about the project visit or follow the hashtag #FreeOfJudgement on Twitter and Instagram.

Anyone interested in joining this project for the final build-up and performance should contact Natalie McVey by calling or texting her on 07876 44905 or sending an email to

• The project has been developed by Blast Theory, the Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians West Midlands and Arts Connect. It is supported by Arts Council England Lottery Funding and the University of Worcester.

• Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists groups using interactive media, creating ground-breaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting.