Information for Artists



Please see a link below to downloadable PDF invitations for the opening and closing parties! 


Background Information:

Holborn Library  was the first large, multi-functional, post-war library in London and was a example of pioneering architecture at the time. Plans are currently under way to remodel the library and redevelop it into studio spaces and new homes. The redevelopment is part of a proposed overhaul of one of the earliest Modernist public libraries in the UK, which backs onto the cul-de-sac where the Cockpit Arts building is located. The redevelopment plan, which includes more than 100 new homes, will reduce the archive collection. Some of the archive is to be stored in an off-site climate controlled facility.

The scheme would see some of the items in the treasured archive boxed up and moved out. The collection includes copies of historic maps, 19th-century toys, gramophone recordings of George Bernard Shaw accepting a freedom of the borough award in 1946 and back-copies of the New Journal, including the first-ever edition from 1982.

In January 2017 the ‘Twentieth Century Society’ listed Holborn Library in its ten buildings named, ‘at risk’

Rationale/Opportunities for responses from artists

It is clear that the library is in a period of disruption and change while plans for redevelopment are finalised. This is an opportunity for artistic intervention within a space which manifests a rich history and exists within a period of uncertain transition. Artists are invited to respond to the space itself within this framework of transition. Questions of ‘worth’, public and social space, architecture, community, archives, knowledge and record keeping could be addressed through installation, sculpture, digital media, photography, works on a variety of surfaces, and work made from library object

Essential Information

Where: Holborn Library

Address32-38 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8PA

Phone020 7974 4444

Exhibition Dates: Friday 3rd November – Sunday 12 November 2017

Open to the Public:

Fri 3rd & Fri 10th / 10am-5pm

Sat 4th & Sat 11th / 11am -5pm

Sun 5th & Sun 12th / 12pm – 4pm

Setting up period:

Friday 27th Oct: 10-5pm, Saturday 28th Oct: 11- 5pm, Sunday 29th Oct: 11am- 4pm

Opening Event: Thursday 2nd Nov, 6-8pm

Closing Party: Sunday 12th November, 2pm – 4pm (Work can be taken down after 4pm)

Library Opening Times:

Mon–Thu 10am-7pm

Fri 10am-5pm

Sat 11am-5pm

Sun 5th Nov and 12th Nov only: 12pm – 4pm

Show Closes: Sunday 12th Nov

Take Down: Sunday 12th Nov after 4pm & Monday 13th Nov – times tbc


There will be a cost of £35 per person to cover printing costs for publicity and refreshments for the opening night

All exhibitors must agree to share responsibility for the exhibition, there will be a number of jobs that will need sharing.

Invigilation of the space will also be a shared role.

A jobs list: here

Invigilating timetable: here

NEW: Download published timetable for invigilation: Holborn Library Invigilating Timetable

Links for further reading:

Twentieth Century Society at risk list:

Twentieth Century Society Architecture:

West End Extra: Art in Holborn Library:

Camden New Journal: The Expansion Scheme:

Coffey Architects Scheme:

The Art Newspaper – Cockpit Arts Redevelopment