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The final ‘season’ of Bahrain’s avant-garde public social reading space is set to kick off this weekend at a new location, with a renewed vision to highlight local creative talent.
The book-loving community, called The People, will be staging its third and final season at The Harbour Row, GFH’s recently-unveiled promenade, starting this Friday and running until the end of March.
“Season 3, being our final chapter, is an idea that came up during our second season. The intention is that while The People will continue to exist as a community, we will have achieved the reading space’s main objective of spreading awareness about reading as a public and social activity,” The People’s co-founder Noor Benshams, 25, told GulfWeekly.
Two years ago, Noor founded The People with her close friend Nejoud Alsharqawi with a goal of creating “a welcoming environment to give people, who may not be avid readers, a space where they can develop reading into a habit.”
Since then, it has evolved into something more… a community bound by a love for literature and creativity.
The first home of The People was at Water Garden City, where passers-by could enjoy books curated by Mirium Al Zeera (@booksnessi on Instagram). This outdoor space ran from January to March last year.
The community’s second site was Marassi Beach in Muharraq, where avid readers sat by sunny sands and enjoyed indoor and outdoor activities.
“Our second season was centred on our intern programme, through which we offered young people the opportunity to learn more about what goes into organising community events, approaching local businesses and working with different volunteer teams,” explained onsite team leader and resource manager Mahera Emteyaz, 27.
“They got to learn about how a community initiative like The People operates and what goes into each event and activity.”
Alongside its primary reading focus, The People has also found itself morphing into an ad-hoc training sandbox for the youth, and Noor, Nejoud and Mahera are hoping to build on that this season.
A total of 16 interns completed the second season, working with the public relations, marketing, events and logistics volunteer teams to create and curate literary events.
This season, The People is working with the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry, as well as a number of local businesses to organise events every week.
“While our first season was about attracting those in the area for a fun evening and our second season was targeted at beach-goers, our third season will have a more corporate feel, because of our location, but we are still aiming to have lots of fun events,” Noor added.
This season, the group also aims to highlight more local creatives, including artists, musicians, poets and writers.
On Friday, there will be a range of activities between 5pm and 8pm, for both adults and children, as part of the space’s opening event.
On Saturday, from 4pm to 7pm, The People is organising a Sherlock Holmes-themed “adventure of activities” in collaboration with AIESEC, a French acronym for Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales (International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences).
The two events will kick off 10 weeks of events, alongside a daily reading and working space, open every day from 4pm until 8pm.
“We are looking forward to leaving a big impact, and we are proud of how we have expanded the footprint of books in our community’s lives, with three distinct seasons” Mahera added.
“The first season showed me how much people still love to read, the second season taught me how to lead volunteers of all kinds and most importantly, it has helped me discover skills I never thought I had. This ranges from leadership to working under pressure and how to pitch and execute all kinds of ideas.”
For details, follow @thepeople.bh on Instagram.