Bill Richardson | Academic and writer

When I came to Olot to take up the Faber Residency, I had a clear idea about what I wanted to reflect on and write about and had made some progress on the topic. This was the link between the life and work of the author Jorge Luis Borges and the institution of the library, since Borges not only wrote about libraries but worked for some 36 years as a librarian, first in a small municipal library and then as Director of the National Library of Argentina. 

Participating in the Thematic Residency on The Future of Cultural Institutions provided me with the time and space, and the appropriate environment, to write about and reflect on this topic in depth, furthering my understanding of the wide range of ideas I had about this general topic. The fact that there were other colleagues participating in the residency meant that we all got the opportunity to present our own topic and to have an in-depth discussion of it. I believe this was of great benefit to all of us, since not only did explaining our topic help to clarify our ideas, but the various insights offered by colleagues added new material to our thinking and opened up new avenues of relevant exploration for us. As a group, I believe we were open and supportive to each other, and we listened carefully and respectfully, offering both encouragement and advice as appropriate. I am confident that we will continue to support each other by being in touch in future and that we will remain friends and colleagues with an interest in each other’s work. In my own case, meeting with professionals who were experts in museum studies and related areas was enormously beneficial, as it enabled me to probe, with them, questions about the epistemological, social and political issues associated with the role played by cultural institutions such as libraries, archives, museums and public parks in the contemporary world. I come away from the Residency with a greatly enriched understanding of my own project, new knowledge about related fields of study, warm memories of the pleasant and insightful conversations held with other participants and a desire to return again to this lovely part of the world.