Engineers of the Imagination

Eyes on Stalks
17th August 2017
New Ground / Lost Seeds
17th August 2017

Engineers of the Imagination


By – Baz Kershaw and Tony Coult, Methuen, 1983,
revised 1990.

Signed by John Fox and Sue Gill, this is still the definitive work on art in the community and has held its own for 20 years. A down to earth book to get thumbmarks and glue on, it explains the basic techniques and inspirational ethos of Welfare State International’s work – the making of processions; large scale puppets; fixed structures; fire and ice technology; processional theatre, dance music, celebratory food and feasts and much more. A must have for all community artists.

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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 indispensable 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 far from being superceded by the internet, it has only become MORE useful as a tool to help people bridge the gap between the abstract – ideas, philosophy, cyberspace – and the concrete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…
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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