The Mothership sails into Chelmsford

This year we were excited to learn that Chelmsford was chosen to host the Essex Book Festival Finale. From a Book Club Symposium in Chelmsford Library and a Science & The Imagination weekend across multiple venues to Lily Hunter Green, an Artist in Residence in the Meadows Shopping Centre and The Promise: Tales of Love & Loss in China with Xinran Xue.

Another aspect of the finale weekend we love is the THE MOTHERSHIP PROJECT which was devised by Essex Book Festival and UK/Chinese charity The Mothers’ Bridge of Love: Culture for Children, to build new friendships between children living in Essex and China.

Hundreds of children from Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, and Essex, have participated in this project, which has culminated in an exchange of 2000 origami boats, many made out of old maps and containing secret messages to unknown mothers, to be launched in the respective countries in 2019.

Friends in Nanjing City folding boats for The Mothership Project January 2019 — at Mothers Bridge of Love: Cuture For Childen Arts Centre, Nanjing City, China

Friends in Nanjing City folding boats for The Mothership Project January 2019 — at Mothers Bridge of Love: Cuture For Childen Arts Centre, Nanjing City, China

Writer and artist Wendy Constance folding boats with children for The Mothership Project on board the magical LV18 in Harwich Quay at our opening weekend in Harwich — at LV18 The Quay Harwich

Writer and artist Wendy Constance folding boats with children for The Mothership Project on board the magical LV18 in Harwich Quay at our opening weekend in Harwich — at LV18 The Quay Harwich

As part of the initiative, locally based artist Elaine Trilby was tasked with transforming the 1000 Chinese boats sent from children living in Nanjing City into a very special MOTHERSHIP installation in the Civic Theatre Foyer. The MOTHERSHIP fittingly will be launched on Mother’s Day, 31st March 2019 in the Civic Foyer. Thus marking both our exciting new friendship and partnership with The Mother’s Bridge of Love, and Essex Book Festival’s 20th Birthday.

The Origami Boats handed over to Elaine in the Civic Foyer

Elaine’s sketched Ideas for the installation after receiving the boats

We think this project is particularly pertinent given the longstanding links between Essex and China, and the high proportion of Chinese people and people of Chinese origin living in the county.