Holding Breath

Directed by Ruth Beale
Camera and edit by Reuben Henry
Commissioned by Brent 2020 / Brent Biennale

Holding Breath is a film by Ruth Beale documenting Brent’s libraries during lockdown: Ealing Road, Harlesden, Kilburn, Kingsbury, Willesden Green and Wembley Central. Like many public spaces, libraries were closed to their communities and their public use for reading, study, work and meeting suspended. Mostly devoid of people, the libraries are dormant, expectant, whilst signs of former use, and preparations for reopening, are revealed in the details. A voiceover inspired by conversations with young people in Brent during lockdown is read by Ayan Abdi, a 16-year-old member of Brent Youth Parliament.