Finding Blake creator and filmmaker James Murray-White shares a taste of a talk that he and poet Clare Crossman, a fellow Finding Blake contributor, gave on 19th October in Nenthead in Cumbria.
At the invitation of curator Maxine, with an audience of 30, we set up the screen in front of the lectern at the beautifully restored old chapel that is the Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre and I showed a range of clips from the project so far, and shared the history of how it came to be.
Some of the selected highlights included the experience of going into Jordan’s Mine in Dorset, and on having such an immersive experience in the Kindersley workshop experiencing the letters being cut for Blake’s new stone, right through to engaging with scholars and creative minds through the interviewing process, to an assessment of getting ready for the final push and finishing the film.
Clare spoke deeply and with careful reflection of Blake as mystic and as a continuing inspiration, through both nature references and remarks on city life and culture in his work. She used her body of poems and study in associated areas to illustrate her talk.
I started by referencing the recent Extinction Rebellion in London, which I had been involved with for four days, and had brought some of that energy with me to Cumbria. Immediately before this talk I had come from a woodland in the North East, where I’d met a local Extinction Rebellion group — XR NE — talking about rewilding as the ultimate act of rebellion, and gathering seeds to further forest the planet as one of the most positive actions we humans can do.
There is no evidence Blake planted trees, though he certainly engaged with them, and it’s clear in my mind he would have supported the values of XR and shared the strong wish to throw off the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of a system that conspires against creativity and the inner/outer spiritual nature of the individual. He is an inspiration in seeking connection to all that is good and holy in this life and in this world as we know — until we transform ourselves internally as well as the world externally.
Here is the XR poster I used as an opening graphic for the Nenthead event.
A Finding Blake screening in Nenthead
I captured this footage of the start of the event — although this was just a camera on a tripod to record it, so apologies for lack of light and focus, and it not being complete. It was just meant to capture a taste of our talk and screening.
We shall be bringing the Finding Blake film to Nenthead for a screening in the New Year!
You can find out more about Nenthead Arts & Visitor Centre — “England’s highest arts and visitor centre” — and the restoration of the chapel at Nenthead Arts and Visitor Centre