Images copyright Tom Cross, 2021
Summer of Stories
In 2021, Buckinghamshire Culture commissioned 4 artists to tour Buckinghamshire with a specially designed ‘Story Stall’ – seeking stories of happiness from our residents. They had lots of conversations, met lots of different people, gave out postcards and badges.
After a Summer spent hearing stories across the county, at markets, events, in town centres and in parks, our Story Stall artists have created a mini-exhibition to share a collective story of happiness in Buckinghamshire. This display will visit Buckinghamshire Libraries from March onwards, staying 4-6 weeks in each location. Visitors will be able to experience a display that includes animation based on Desree’s poem written in response to the Summer of Stories, postcards to read and some interpretation.
Bucks residents will also be able to have a go at making flags inspired by what makes them happy at drop in workshops – dates tbc.
You can see the display at:
- Aylesbury Library – 14th March-22nd April
- Amersham Lifestyle Centre – 25th April-27th May
- Princes Risborough Library – 20th June-1st August
Please check the Library website for opening times.
Summer of Stories Film
Summer of Stories Art Works
Tom Cross has illustrated bespoke badges inspired by the stories he has heard:
Desree created a poem:
You can listen to Desree reading the poem by pressing play below:
Story Packs – Activities to Try at Home
Our talented artists have each created a story-themed activity pack that you can try at home. These are activities that use every-day materials, or sometimes just you! Some focus on drawing and making, and some on dance of poetry. You can download the packs below:
Share Your Stories this Summer – during 2021
This Summer, we are inviting residents to share and celebrate their personal stories, and those of Buckinghamshire itself. There will be lots of opportunities to share stories in creative ways, through an artist-led Story Project throughout the Summer, and the Open Weekend event taking place over a long weekend, 22-25 July.
The Story Project will see artists touring a pop-up Story Stall – think artist-designed market stall – to locations across Buckinghamshire and encouraging people to share their stories of happiness. Our lead artist, Tom Cross, will design the Story Stall, which will collect stories using postcards, and through conversations with the public. Starting at Whizzfizzfest (26 June), and touring the county over the summer, the Stall will visit events, markets and high streets – engaging lots of different people. The artists will then respond to all of the stories they hear over Summer and create a pop-up storytelling structure that will visit town centres across Bucks in early Autumn.
Lead artist, Tom Cross says: I am excited to be working in Buckinghamshire, and looking forward to the moments of wonder, joy and sadness that I know I will experience, hearing and sharing stories of residents. This is a great opportunity to celebrate Buckinghamshire and the people that live here – especially now things are re-opening after lockdown.
Share your stories on Instagram and Twitter using #SummerOfStories.
Check back here for updates from our artists and to find out where you can visit the Story Stall, and how you can share your stories.
Find the Story Stall – past dates from 2021
The Story Stall will tour Buckinghamshire this Summer, starting from 26 June. We’ll share more the dates and locations when we can.
- Story Stall will be at Whizzfizzfest on 26th June – find it at the Exchange. For more information about Whizzfizzfest, see their website: https://www.whizzfizzfest.org.uk/
- Story Stall was going to visit Bands in the Park at Lowndes Park, Chesham on 11th July, 2-4pm but this event has been CANCELLED
Story Stall will feature at events and locations across Buckinghamshire during Open Weekend – visiting:
- Discover Bucks Museum (formerly Bucks County Museum) on 22nd July, 10am-4pm
- Bourne End Library Garden on 23rd July, 10am-4pm
- Story Telling Festival event on Frogmoor in High Wycombe on 24th July
- Chiltern Open Air Museum on 25th July, 10am-4pm
- Chesham Market on 28th July, 8.30am-3pm
- Buckingham Market on 14th August, 9am-4pm
- High Wycombe Market on 17th August, 9am-4pm
- Winslow Market on 25th August, 8.30am-2pm
- Live in the Park, Aqua Vale Park, Aylesbury on 28th August, 9am-5.30pm
- Black Park, Wexham on 29th August, 10am-4pm
- Beaconsfield Country Fair, Beaconsfield on 30th August, 9.30am-5pm
Share a Story
Over Summer 2021, we distributed Story Postcard displays and ‘post boxes’ around the county, so that people who could not get to one of our live events, could still share their story of happiness in Buckinghamshire by filling in and ‘posting’ one of our Story Postcards.
Locations for Story Postcards post boxes – during Summer 2021:
- Amersham Museum, Amersham
- Burnham Library, Burnham
- Buckingham Library, Buckingham
- Chesham Library, Chesham
- Elgiva Theatre, Chesham
- Milton’s Cottage, Chalfont St Giles
- University of Buckingham Book Shop, Vinson Building, Buckingham
- Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden
Meet the Artists
Tom Cross is our Lead Artist for this project:
Tom Cross is a visual artist whose work is about story – the importance of all of our stories to help us make sense of the world. He uses a mixture of print-making, animation and drawing to reflect the conversations and stories he gathers from people he meets. Tom’s work Soap and Porridge has recently been touring libraries around Buckinghamshire and he has also delivered creative projects for lots of different places, from local community centres to international artist organisations.
Natasha Khamjani is one of 3 Project Artists:
Natasha Khamjani trained at the prestigious London Studio Centre and worked as a versatile performer before deciding to concentrate on being a creative from behind the scenes, although she still finds herself making cameos on various projects! She mainly works as freelance choreographer across the industry including theatre commissions as well as commercial and corporate jobs. Her signature is to fuse a variety of styles together with a strong and sometimes humorous narrative to create something spectacular. Natasha is also Co Artistic Director of Folk Dance Remixed, a successful company who fuse folk and hip hop dance and music to produce quirky, magical and highly entertaining shows. They also host Ceilidh Jams and Street Dance the Maypole workshops. They tour the UK and appear at outdoor festivals and events up and down the country and are commissioned to create bespoke pieces with various organisations and events. There work connects people from different cultures and generations and brings an instant feeling of joy! www.folkdanceremixed.com
Desree is one of our Project Artists:
Desree is a spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in London and Slough.
Having graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Drama Studies from De Montfort University, Desree is no stranger to the stage. An advocate for community arts and youth projects, she began a night called #OMN in 2014 in her hometown, Slough. It was started with the aim of giving individuals of all ages and skills, opportunities and essentially encouragement. It was at #OMN that Desree performed spoken word on stage for the first time. Currently Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, and an Ambassador for MQ; Mental Health Research Charity, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary, occasionally throwing in a f*ckboy poem. Producer for both Word Up and Word Of Mouth, finalist in 2018’s Hammer & Tongue national final and TEDx speaker, she has featured at events around the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry New York. Burning Eye Publishers will be republishing Desree’s first pamphlet, I Find My Strength In Simple Things in May 2020. www.iamdesree.co.uk
Angela Stattersfield is one of our Project Artists:
Angela is a visual artist based in Aylesbury with twenty years’ experience leading art and craft workshops in galleries, museums, theatres and schools, to inspire and engage communities and broaden the experience of the arts for all ages. Specialist skills include mosaics, textile wall hangings, murals and story-based art workshops. Angela worked with The Art Room charity for nine years, managing a team across Oxfordshire to deliver weekly art as therapy workshops to support young people’s emotional wellbeing. Currently leading the early years’ programme at Modern Art Oxford and facilitating workshops for At The Bus, an Oxford based arts charity. In response to Covid lockdowns, Angela started The Buckinghamshire Kindness Wave to provide young people in care and children with a parent in prison with art parcels to support their wellbeing. The young people transformed objects including lampshades, bags and pillowslips into works of art. Angela has BA (Hons) Theatre Design, Level 3 Counselling Skills and a PG Cert in Educational Practice (art as therapy).
Updates from our Artists
Tom Cross is busily creating the Story Stall – here’s a sneak peak ahead of the first outing on 26th June at Whizzfizzfest:
Tom Cross has been inspired by Bucks objects and elements that residents love. He has been creating illustrations inspired by these things: