Below you'll find some examples of my work on arts, community and education projects as a freelance artist, writer-in-residence, and researcher.

The Sand Library

I'm a writer-in-residence on Ensemble – a five year project investigating digital technologies and environmental change at Lancaster University. The Sand Library is inspired by the project's biodiversity and ecosystem themes. The stories of many different species are imagined through digital fiction and installations that respond to the tides. Handmade work includes a series of tiny shell books. The project is due to be completed for October 2021.

Persephone'sStories

'Persephone's Footsteps' is a reimagining of the Persephone myth, a response to escalating carbon emissions, and a map that can be used to explore any city. As Persephone climbs higher – first to escape the underworld and then to escape the polluted streets of the city – the listener must climb higher to hear more of her story.

'For Hades' is a collection of stories from the surface, gathered by Persephone to take back to the Underworld. Each artefact holds fragments of the literatures of other living beings, from the myths of trees to the stories of snails and seed tales carried by the wind. The stories are explored through touch and sound.
 

Lichen Stories

'The Lichen Records' is a collection of lichen-inspired stories, an archive of found materials, and a letter to the future. This work is slow-growing like the organisms that inspire it and the intention is that it will continue to seed new works. Stories inhabiting it presently include a number of fantastical cut-up stories remade from scientific papers that explore air pollution from a lichen perspective, a lichen-dial where the story changes depending on the quality of the air, and a solargraph that shows a lichen's view of the world with the path of the sun etched into the sky.

'Detours from Lichen Cartography' is a book of maps accompanied by an audio story that invites the reader outside. The story responds to the environment and will only grow longer in strong daylight. Each page turn reveals a new city as the narrator tries to find the City of Lichen and recounts their visits to the cities of Stone, Rain, Air, Leaves, Words and Light. This is a book designed for wandering and wondering.
      

How to
Catch a River

The theme for the Ensemble project's first year was flooding, for which I developed three very different works. 'The River Library' is a participatory storymaking installation. People were invited to throw story dice into books that hold miniature rivers and to use these as prompts to make up their own stories of rivers and flooding. At Manchester Science Festival the installation resulted in 90 new stories being made by families and the wider project installation was visited by almost 2000 people.

'We are Riverish' is a new fairy tale about a river that floods and about what it takes away and what it brings. Inspired by my own experiences of flooding in 2015 the story was only printed on water soluble paper and left to be found on riverbanks.

'The Tide Jar' is a story lantern that is only illuminated in the early evening when there is a full or new moon. This is when spring tides bring the highest water levels and a greater chance of flooding. The lantern is intended to be an unobtrusive reminder that calls attention to the river when daily life can disrupt our awareness of tide times and the lunar cycle.

A Rat's Tale

This project was a commission for Light Up Lancaster 2017, commissioned by Lancaster Arts City and working with Lancaster Library and Ryelands Primary School, Lancaster.

 

The work was inspired by the idea of rats getting to tell their version of the Pied Piper fairy tale and involved an installation with interactive digital elements in Lancaster Library, a series of schools’ workshops, in which year 3 and 4 classes made rat tales to be included in the library, site-specific installations in shop windows, and ‘Ratology’ walking tours around the city over the two nights of the festival.

Earlier projects

Wonderlore's Travelling Story Shop

site-specific activities and workshops encouraging people of all ages to make new stories inspired by interaction with elements from folklore, fairy tales and myth. I ran the activities at festivals and in libraries, museums and a bookshop. Chester Performs describe it as 'One of our most popular workshops of the summer, Claire’s enchanting set-up sparked the imagination of children and adults alike.'


Castle Park Stories: a Heritage Lottery-funded project for Litfest, working with people from the Lancaster area to uncover hidden histories and share them through creative non-fiction and photography in an exhibition of stories.

Malkin Child, by Livi Michael, is a powerful reimagining of the most famous witch trial in English history, suitable for ages 9+. I edited the book and managed its production for Litfest to mark the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials. As the Lancashire Reads Book 2012,
Malkin Child has been well received by both children and adults.

Paraxis: co-edited with Andy Hedgecock and Carys Bray. Publishing unnerving, uncanny and fantastical stories, essays and artwork.

New Fairy Tales: an illustrated magazine I founded to encourage the writing and enjoyment of new fairy tales. Launched in 2008, our final issue was published in November 2010. To find out more about the magazine, read back issues and enjoy free audio stories please visit the website.

The Fairy Tale Cupboard: A blog about fairy tales, which I kept between July 2009 and January 2011.

Field guide to digital fiction: A resource I compiled in 2010 as part of a research project on digital fiction for my MA. It now reads like a little bit of web history.

© 2021 by Claire Dean. Created with Wix.com.

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