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Today I went to quite a bit of trouble to bring a group of Chinese visitors to see the Rice Pavilion. They are here in Brighton improving their English and learning about our culture. We spent the morning reading extracts from the various websites that have covered 'the event' and talked about the problems of unequal global distribution of food and other resources. Vocabulary, concepts and issues well-prepared, we arrived at the library expecting to see the structure and some information about the context. Not so. The pavilion stands there - impressive and alone. Not a poster, nor a leaflet; no contextualisation, no information about where exactly the rice would be going to feed the hungry after the construction is dismantled, no readily available information about the artists or other 'awareness raising' activities the organisation had done. To be honest, if we had not taken the trouble to prepare ourselves in advance we would have been no better informed about the issues than all the other library users, who were pretty much ignoring the structure and seemed amazed that my group were gazing at it and taking photos. It seems to me that as an awareness raising activity, this rather fabulous structure is a lost opportunity.

By Hazel Slinn (16/08/2007)

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