In The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse is the newest edition to the Tannachie Building for the School of Writing and Journalism, offering a work and social space for the students that are perhaps new to the Falmouth Arts Campus as opposed to our previous residency at the Tremough. With its name being inspired by Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, I think it is apt to call it our new turquoise blue bubble where many are encouraged to feel safe and contented, much like Woolf’s own Talland House in St Ives. It’s a space where things make sense.
It's a work in progress – the bookshelves need filling out, a couple of homely touches need adding, and we’re still fighting over who gets to use it – but I don’t know anyone unhappy with the Lighthouse (except for when we want to use it and can’t). It’s also an important place, for students and lecturers alike. We don’t have studios or workspaces, personalised and claimed, although it’d be unreasonable to say: Hey, let’s give every writer in the department their own desk. The Lighthouse is an important step in feeling more wanted on this campus.
I, like many, can appreciate the old meeting the new. Like writers, there’s a compromise, respecting what came before but not afraid of change: a 19th Century building redesigned and repurposed for others to enjoy. People are excited to fill their newfound space within Tannachie House, requesting and putting on poetry nights, book launches, workshops, and other events. The Lighthouse is better than any writer’s room, it’s our room.
The Lighthouse is a turquoise sanctuary, providing not only comfort but also an endless supply of tea and coffee. Sofas and armchairs sit waiting to be sunk into, whether your laptop is perched on your lap or you’re taking a well-earned nap. It’s a second home. The books that line the shelves are in no particular order and my hands itch to sort them out. Little Women sits next to Who Runs Britain, everything has its own place even if it doesn’t make sense. It’s cosy and enclosed, yet open and freeing. It’s a place of opposites living cohesively.
It’s a place that I wish I had during my first and second years at Falmouth. Having somewhere that wasn’t home but not a library desk or official meeting room where I felt weird taking my shoes off. It’s a space where I can work comfortably in front of big windows; where the sun floods in all afternoon; and when it rains it patters against the glass, as if you are being cheered on by the droplets. I feel like Austen on a bay-window ledge, or Roald Dahl in his shed.
I like going to The Lighthouse when I have work to be done, work I can do slowly, making cups of tea along the way. After seminars I’m often found hidden away. Whether I’ve been inspired or drained, it provides a space to come back to. A base to gather my thoughts. On Monday nights, under low warm lights, poetry is read aloud and performed, the windows are misty, free wine flows, and people come together ready to laugh, cry, or cringe. The Lighthouse is better than any stage, it turns into our little beacon of creativity.
by Dan Hunt and Gemma Oxley