Date posted 18 May 2021

SPINE Festival returns to Wandsworth Libraries in new digital format

For the second year running, Wandsworth Libraries has special funding from Apples and Snakes (England’s leading spoken word poetry organization) to host SPINE arts festival, a series of workshops aimed at children, families, and schools in the borough.

Throughout the month of June, a series of online events will be taking place– from artist-led workshops on Zoom, to theatre showings on the library website. Wandsworth Libraries are teaming up with Merton Libraries this year to programme events for children aged from 5 to 12 years.

This year’s theme is Empathy, to tie in with Empathy Day on Thursday 10th June. We are lucky to have two artists in residence offering online events to schools and families: Linden K McMahon, and Victoria Fifield, plus local cartoonist Ben Poultney who is working with us on an online event open to all families with children aged 8 to 12 years.

Introducing, Wandsworth Libraries’ wonderful artists in residence:

Linden K McMahon:
Linden K McMahon is a writer, performer, teacher, and arts facilitator. They write poetry and fiction exploring our connections with non-human nature, re-imagining belonging and kinship, and celebrating queer joy. Says Linden: ‘I love libraries - Saturdays spent in my local library set me on the path to becoming a writer! I think that libraries represent a lot of brilliant things about humans - the way we share knowledge and resources collectively, create community, and take care of each other. So I'm really excited to be working with libraries in Wandsworth and Merton, and I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!’ Read about Linden’s work over at:

Victoria Fifield:
Victoria Fifield is a visual artist specialising in mixed media, and a background in design, writing and music. Her work has included a solo exhibition and book publication called Pieces From A Broken Land about her time living and working in Israel/Palestine. Says Victoria: ‘I'm looking forward to seeing the children enjoying themselves and being creative together after such a disruptive and difficult year. I can't wait to see what they will all dream up!’

Read more about Victoria’s work over at:

Ben Poultney:
Ben regularly teaches drawing workshops for children and adults of Wandsworth, and he has worked on many local, creative projects including with St. George’s Hospital. He runs children’s cartoon science classes, and has spent time volunteering and drawing at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He also works with the elderly in care homes. Ben has been drawing since he was able to hold a crayon and hasn't stopped since. He specialises in fun, vibrant and interactive cartoon artwork, bringing humour and lovable characters to the forefront of his drawings. Read more about Ben’s work over at:

Keep up with @Better_Balham and @wandsworthlibs on Twitter for announcements.

Booking information:
Art workshop open to children aged 5 to 7 years:
Empathy Explorers: with Artists in Residence Linden K McMahon and Victoria Fifield
Thursday 3rd June, 3pm to 4.15pm
Now booking:

Arts workshop open to children aged 8 to 12 years:
Intro to Comic Drawing With Cartoonist Ben Poultney: Empathy Day event
Thursday 10th June, 4.00pm to 5.15pm
Now booking:

Arts workshops open to primary schools:
Our Children’s Librarian is contacting schools within the borough directly to invite them to take part.