To connect residents across Buckinghamshire during these challenging times, the University of Buckingham and Buckinghamshire Culture have teamed up to create ‘Lockdown Stories’ – a website where county residents can share their thoughts and experiences.
‘Lockdown Stories’ is designed to help individuals tell their story, explore their creativity and build connections. Stories are posted online at Buckingham.news and shared on social media using the hashtag #lockdownstories.
Submissions so far have included, a poem from the Bard of Buckingham, Dean Jones, a comical left-field view of isolation, an example of how you can create a happy moods board and a virtual walk. Others have chosen to film activities such as reading their favourite poems or share the world from their dog’s perspective. There’s also the collaborative story, ‘Beginnings’, which encourages readers to write the next chapter themselves before letting the next person continue the tale.
The intention is to celebrate the power of stories and storytelling as ways to escape and relax, fire imaginations, make sense of the world, pass on information and traditions, share experiences, feel accepted and valued, and make new connections.
This micro-project is part of much bigger plans to develop a Storytelling Festival for Buckinghamshire as part of the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy. Storytelling is a theme that has long been associated with the area with several literary events already taking place in Buckinghamshire, including the Buckingham Literary Festival and WhizzfizzFest, Working with these events, Buckinghamshire Culture is planning to create a Storytelling Festival for 2022 that embraces the whole county.
The Storytelling Festival will explore storytelling in all its forms, and will include different types of arts and creative opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to experience, share and participate in stories and storytelling. The festival had originally been planned for 2021, however due to the pandemic the decision was taken to delay the first event.
Julius Weinberg, Buckinghamshire Culture Co-Chair said: ‘We are sad that our plans to develop a Festival have had to be delayed due to Covid-19, but we are really excited to work with the University of Buckingham to offer this opportunity to connect people online through creativity and stories – we cannot wait to see what people create’
Roger Perkins, Head of Journalism at the University of Buckingham adds, ‘Lockdown Stories offers a chance for each of us to show some solidarity with each other at a particularly difficult time. It’s the perfect expression of citizen journalism in the breadth of its coverage. It’ll also provide a record of what we were doing and how we were feeling for future generations.’
If you would like to submit your story please email Camilla.firstname.lastname@example.org. Stories can be submitted as video, film, voice recording, images, text (please note: stories must be suitable for audiences of all ages). If you need some prompts to fire your imagination and creativity, your story might be inspired by: seeing something or someone in a new light, an unexpected ‘silver lining’ from your isolation, or an old memory or story given a new life.