The Book of Kuopio is a guidebook to Kuopio created by local school children aged 8–12 in collaboration with artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington. The project culminates in a live book launch taking place at Kuopio City Hall during ANTI Festival.
The Book of Kuopio is a guidebook to Kuopio created by local school children aged 8–12 in collaboration with artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington. Weaving together real facts and helpful information with made up stories and wild speculation, the book offers locals and visitors alike the opportunity to see and experience Kuopio through the eyes of some of its youngest inhabitants.
Alongside the printed copies of this new guidebook that will be distributed across the city, the project culminates in a live book launch taking place at Kuopio City Hall during ANTI Festival and hosted by the book’s young authors where they will read their favourite passages, ask questions of the adult residents of the city and offer attendees the chance to have their copy of the guidebook signed by the authors.
Like every guidebook, The Book of Kuopio is both a map and an incantation, showing its readers the way and inscribing familiar places with new meaning. It is an opportunity to reconsider who tells the stories that define the identity of our towns and cities, and how we can begin to empower people to tell new stories, and challenge those with power to listen to them.
About the project
Children from Rajala, Hiltulanlahti, Puijonsarvi and Steiner school of Kuopio completed activity packs, designed by Andy and Beckie, with their teachers. They wrote about the places they love, the places they wish could be better and the changes they would make if they were in charge. A smaller group of editors worked with Andy and Beckie to bring hundreds of ideas together in to pages of must see sights, walks, monuments and loads more.
They shared the things they miss, the things they worry about and the ways they would improve their neighbourhoods. They wrote stories about what they would do if they were invisible for a day, wrote a new Kuopio Town Anthem and shared their recommendations.
The project is an opportunity to look beyond the familiar and the predictable. To see the sights that children deem important, to follow both their favourite walks and their favourite ways of walking, to navigate through real and imagined streets in their footsteps. Whether you are a visitor or a local resident, this project is a way of expanding what you think you know about a place and an invitation to participate in a conversation about the very different values and meanings that adults and children ascribe to the things they encounter in the world around them.
The first version of The Book of Your Town was created in 2021 in St Helens, commissioned by social arts agency Heart of Glass as a way of bringing together young people and policy makers to think about their relationships to the town. The project won the Liverpool City Region Impact Award for Improving Education and Learning in 2021.
The Book of Kuopio is a part of Festivals’ Path project. The project is co-curated and co-organised with International New Theater Festival Homo Novus. Festivals’ Path project is funded by Ministry of Education and Culture Finland.