There's only two of us, at the last count. Northern Irish members of 26 I mean. Just me and Gillian. And I'm English so I probably don't count. I shouldn't. Gillian is, of course, much better qualified than me to be a 26er. A proper, professional, skilled writer. On the other hand, I'm a charlatan. Not so much a writer as a stringer of words. Sticking them together so they hang, dangerously weak. Held together by sticky tape and Pritt Stick. Sliced with a scalpel and spray mounted in line.
That's how I managed to wriggle my way onto the writer's list for our branch of this year's 26 Treasures. Now I'm on, it's woefully clear I'll be outwritten and out outwrote by everyone else.
A bit of background: Last year, the writer's collective 26 devised 26 Treasures. Working with the V&A, 26 writers were each paired with an exhibit about which they would respond with 62 words. It's all here. This year, the project has gone regional with branches in NI, Scotland and Wales. In NI, we're being a bit awkward. We're roping in 26 artists/designers to add a different angle on the thing. So there are 26 writers (not all 26 members clearly) who each get bundled with an artist/designer and an exhibit in the Ulster Museum. The writer writes and then the artist/designer does his/her stuff.
In October, the results will be brought together in an exhibition at the museum that will form part of of the Belfast Festival at Queen's. All pretty exciting really. And I'm really pleased to be working with artist/photographer Sonya Whitefield and a self-portrait-pot by Peter Meanley.