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A Post Graduate Study Hub launched with a celebratory free ‘True Story’ open mic night. On Monday, Week 9, The Storey Institute accommodated five artists who were eager to share their true stories with an enthusiastic audience, around the theme of ‘launch’.
Inside the Storey a small crowd gathered, fuelled by conversation and common interests. The ample area, painted in soft colours, presented a stage and the contrasting blue of two LUGRAD banners. The event was organised by Yvonne Battle-Felton, who also shared her story, and Naomi Kruger, both PhD students at Lancaster University (Naomi has just graduated).
After an initial welcoming by Claire Povah, Deputy Head of Student Registry, and an opening speech by Eileen Blamire, Leader of the Lancaster City Council, we were offered a tour around the new study spaces: a small group room, capable of seating up to 8 people, with a large screen for practising presentations; and a large quiet study room, capable of seating around 40 students. For the moment, no bookings are necessary for either room.
After a brief moment of nibbles and beverages we arrived at the key point of the evening: There was no microphone, even though it was an Open Mic Night, but it didn’t seem to matter. If the speakers were nervous, as soon as they stepped on stage they were in their element. Postures relaxed, voices clear. The first writer silenced every remaining conversation in the room.
In a small amount of minutes they each got to tell their own true stories. The evening saw a parade of laughter and sadness, as these writers shared a part of themselves with us in funny and touching moments. The readings flowed until all had spoken with their different interpretations of ‘launch’, ranging from death and new beginnings to honesty and memory.
And so the new study hub was christened. If one was to gauge the audience in search of the success level of the event, the applauses and the eagerness with which we listened said it all.
The event was intended to be the first of an ongoing series, with the next ‘Stories at the Storey: True Stories Open Mic Night’ to be held in January.