Grizedale Arts

Coniston Institute Library

The New Mechanics Library

The New Mechanics Library is a growing online library of texts, ebooks and links that forms a hub for sharing information around the idea of reinstating usage as a central value of art.

The project has been initiated by Grizedale Arts in partnership with the Internationale group of museums, John Moores University Liverpool, the University of Hildesheim and the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of a long term project called The Uses of Art: The Legacy of 1848 and 1989.

This five-year programme of activity is conceived to establish effective civic functions for art and art museums in an age of Western de-development, in relation to the coefficients of European development, symbolized by the years 1848 and 1984.

The Library is an integral part of the Coniston Mechanics Institute Library in the Lake District village of Coniston. This library is a public lending library designed by Liam Gillick and managed by Cumbria County Council Libraries and village volunteers.

The Coniston Institute is manifestation of the Mechanics Institute movement of the 19th century and was repurposed by local resident, artist and social reformer John Ruskin in 1878 as a building to provide an ideal education for the working population. Within the Uses of Art is an ambition to rethink the function of art and its institutions using the Mechanics Institute model as a mechanism for change in an era of perceived decline, as it was during the exponential growth of the Industrial Age.

Available publications: