Dunstable Library in driving seat for the Selfie Slot Car Championship

Start your engines and get set for a Grand Dunstable Library.

In February and early March, storyteller, artist and car enthusiast Chris Dobrowolski will be in the library creating a new art project called Selfie Slot Car Championship, in homage to the 1970s heyday of model-making and Scalextrix.

Chris will be turning the top floor of Dunstable Library into a model-making den where you can create your own model replica of your family car, and then race it in the Selfie Slot Car Championship event on Saturday, 5 March 2016.

This is part of the ambitious Library as Laboratory art project – commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Libraries in partnership with Bedford Creative Arts and funded by Arts Council England – which is designed to explore, with everyone, the future possibilities for libraries beyond books and how they could be an even more inclusive cultural and community space.

“If you love model-making, cars, Scalextrix, the Grand Prix, experimenting, making, getting things to work and anything in-between, come have some fun and help create Selfie Slot Car Championship” said Chris. “It’s a great project for the family. You’ll need to have a car or access to one as we’ll be taking photos of your car during the workshops and then creating a model of your car to race in the main event.”

Model-making workshops will take place during the half-term school holidays from Monday, 15 February, to Saturday, 20 February, 10am-12pm and 3-5pm, (there is no workshop on Thursday morning, 18 February). The workshops are free to take part but booking is essential as numbers are limited.

The main event (Saturday, 5 March, 10-4.30pm) will take place with qualifiers in the morning and the final race event in the afternoon.

Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Member for Community Services, Cllr Brian Spurr, said: “The Library as Laboratory project has so far been a wonderful exploration into the innovative ways in which we can get the most out of our libraries as even more inclusive cultural and community spaces. As maker spaces are proving increasingly popular we are inviting people in Dunstable, or just car and model-making enthusiasts in general, to come and try something different at their local library.”

Before all that, and as a taster for what could be in store, Chris is bringing his one-man show, All Roads Lead to Rome, to Dunstable Library on 28 January 2016, which combines storytelling, comedy and bits of a Triumph Herald Estate.

Chris has lovingly repaired his family car so that he can drive it from his childhood home in Braintree to Rome via Turin where this quintessentially English car was designed.

One review of the show said: ‘This is one of the best shows I have ever seen in a theatre – and it isn't really a show… It's like someone showing you their holiday snaps - except this time you actually want to stay.’

Part investigation into his father’s time as a Polish soldier in the Italian Campaign during World War II and part muse on consumerism, All Roads Lead to Rome brings together car mechanics, a road trip, dictators and the fetishisation of possessions in a solo performance using old photos, new film and surprising mechanical objects.

The doors open at 7pm. This show contains strong language, which would be unsuitable for children under the age of 14. We would like everyone to be able to attend so we are doing a ‘pay what you can afford’ after you have seen the show you can donate an amount of your choosing up to £5.

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