Airship Dreaming at The Library


Two years ago we invited artist Mike Stubbs to begin an artistic inquiry into Bedford’s airship history. Airship Dreaming in The library is the first project to come out of his research. Commissioned by Bedford Central Library, in partnership with us at BCA, this project has been developed by Mikeworking with artist and inventor Dave Lynch. Using images of the famous R101 airship built at Cardington Sheds, we invite you to join us over May half-term to bring history back to life, using augmented reality.  

 Each day there are drop-in activities where you can learn about Bedford’s airship history and experience the magic of augmented reality environments. Using the library’s airship archive, model-making and augmented reality, gain hands-on experience of creating your own content using mobile phones and tablets, develop your creative and technology skills and let your imagination fly. 

 Alongside the activity on the first floor of the library, check out the hackerspace with skills tutorials on the Thursday and Friday afternoons. Find out more about airship innovation with a talk from Hybrid Air Vehicles on today’s airship, the Airlander. At the end of the week join us for public sharing of the work.


Dates and Times 

Drop-in activities. Free. Suitable for 8+ 

Tuesday 28 May 2019  11:00-15:30 

Wednesday 29 May 2019  11:00-15:30 

Thursday 30 May 2019  11:00-15:30 

Friday 31 May 2019  11:00-15:30 

Saturday  1 June 2019  11:00-15:30 

 Hackerspace Suitable for 12+ 


Working with artist and inventor Dave Lynch 

Thursday 30 May 2019  13:30-15:30 

Friday 31 May 2019  13:30-15:30 

Spaces limited. Book at the library 


Thursday 30 May 2019  14:30-15:30  The Airlander, the new cruise ship for the sky. An interactive talk by Andrew Barber, Airworthiness and Flight Test Engineer, Hybrid Air Vehicles 


Sunday 2 June 2019  11:00-13:00  Public sharing 

Join the artists and makers to experience their augmented reality creations. 

All events take place at Bedford Central Library 


In 2020 it will be ninety years since the first transatlantic airship flight of the R100 from Bedford to Montreal, followed just months later by the fatal crash of the R101. This tragedy killed forty-eight men, including local men from Shortstown, and resulted in the demise of the airship industry at the time 

 The R101 was like a luxury cruise liner for the skies. It wasn’t just full of air.  People wanted to travel in style in the 1920s and at the time, aeroplanes didn’t offer this level of comfort or scale.  

 Whilst the aeroplane has superceded the airship for distance travel by air, the airship industry has continued to develop. Today, the airship industry is alive and kicking in Bedford, with Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander 

The project is commissioned by Bedford Borough Council and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 

Upcoming Events


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Mike Stubbs

Mike Stubbs is an artist, filmmaker and curator and former Director of FACT, Liverpool. Mike studied at the Royal College of Art, Cardiff Art College of Art, and Mander College, Bedford where he grew up.    Mike’s work explores how we shape our everyday worlds and how we seek meaning and significance in the fabric of daily life. He particularly references machines, work, innovation, class and identity and has a strong background in socially engaged practice, often working in collaboration with other artists and communities. Mike is the lead artist on this project 


Dave Lynch

Dave Lynch is an artist, creative director and inventor working at the intersection of moving image, large-scale interactive installation, performance and projection. Dave’s work combines elements of art, science, military, maker and media cultures, technologies and production through play and doing. He is experienced in sharing, collaboration, education and cultural dialogue especially with other artists, academics, physicists, neuroscientists, creative technologists, cultural experts, musicians, brands and more. In 2015, he achieved a world first with the projection of moving images onto clouds from aircraft using 19th century technology. Dave will lead on the use of augmented reality in this project. 

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