COG: Cultural Outreach Group (COG) is a peer-to-peer network focused on developing and sharing best practice in respect of audience development, outreach and inclusion activity in cultural organisations. By working together, the members aim to develop their individual and collective ability to engage under-represented audiences and develop sustainable systems for on-going participation and co-production. COG is led by Bucks County Museum and Buckinghamshire Culture, hosted at the Museum.
COG is project funded by Rothschild Foundation which provided funding over three years (Jan 2019-Jan 2022) for a group of 8 cultural partners to test new approaches to inclusive engagement, audience development and participation at cultural venues. The funding enables the Community Outreach Officer at Bucks County Museum to support the 7 other partners to develop new relationships with target audiences and to work with them to programme new pilot activities. This includes funding for annual Sharing Days. Over time this network has grown to include further partners, who attend meetings and training, but are not benefiting from the Outreach Officer support or the pilot activity grants.
Covid-19 has interrupted delivery of COG and the group did not meet between March and October 2020. The group re-convened in November 2020 and re-aligned the project to make the most of the remaining funding period.
We wish to recruit an Inclusion Expert/Group Mentor to support the group to develop their inclusive practice, provide insight into what really good engagement and consultation looks and feels like, and help the partners troubleshoot and review their activities.
Deadline for applications: 5pm, 18th January 2021.
We have created a Christmas Quiz for staff parties, Christmas Zoom meetings, or just a cosy evening in. This quiz has a heritage feel and all of the questions relate to Buckinghamshire.
These questions have been inspired by our ongoing Bucks in 100 Objects project – and if you are feeling brainy, can be completed without looking at the list first. Or if you need a bit of help, take a look at the objects nominated so far here: http://www.buckinghamshireculture.org/bucks-in-100-objects
Let us know how you get on on social media, you can find us on Twitter (@BucksCulture) and Instagram (@bucks_culture).
And if the quiz sparks any ideas for a really important Bucks object, which tells a particular Bucks story, then nominations are still open and we would love to hear from you.
Leaders and innovators from Buckinghamshire’s cultural sector are encouraged to apply for a special leadership network, called Bucks Cultural Leaders, launching in Spring 2021. Buckinghamshire Culture have partnered with Cultural Associates Oxford to offer a free, year-long programme of leadership development and workshops supporting cultural organisations to innovate and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rothschild Foundation are funding this programme, with seed funding from Arts Council England and Buckinghamshire Council.
Around 20 creative and cultural professionals will be selected through an application process, to take part in a series of sessions led by Lucy Shaw, Miki Lentin, Pegram Harrison and Maurice Davies. Cultural Associates Oxford will draw on their impressive networks across the creative, cultural, business and higher education sectors to deliver this leadership programme with Buckinghamshire Culture.
Arts and culture have been more important than ever to people across the UK during lockdown – providing connection, enjoyment and distraction at a difficult time. But the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many of our cultural organisations to close, cancel events and activities, put off schools’ visits, and reduce engagement and outreach activities, as organisations struggle to survive. Bucks Cultural Leaders will provide support to help the county’s cultural professionals re-frame their offer and re-engage with the community in the aftermath of the pandemic. This much-needed and timely support aims to ensure that our treasured cultural organisations are with us, and can thrive, into the future.
‘‘We are really looking forward to working on this fantastic new programme to help cultural organisations and leaders in Buckinghamshire re-engage with their audiences. We are all living through a time of monumental change, and for the cultural and creative sectors in Buckinghamshire, this programme offers an incredibly positive opportunity to re-frame, re-think and build new networks for a new future.”
Lucy Shaw, Cultural Associates Oxford Director
This project directly supports the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy and will also spearhead an advocacy programme designed to evidence the value of creative and cultural programmes to all parts of people’s lives – including: their physical and mental health, education and skills development, the vibrancy and prosperity of high streets and connection and community. It will also deliver Arts in the Community Training for freelancers, community leaders and artists in 2021.
“At this very strange time, we are really pleased to be able to work with great partners to support our cultural organisations. And that we have been able to put together such a prestigious and high-quality project to support our cultural organisations to get fighting fit for the recovery from Covid, and to show how culture can be part of that recovery.”
Bill Morris, Buckinghamshire Culture Co-Chair
Cultural and creative professionals working in Buckinghamshire can find out more, and how to apply for Bucks Cultural Leaders here.
Buckinghamshire Culture is pleased to have forged a new and exciting relationship with Grymsdyke Farm, a collective of designers and architects working together in Bucks.
Since January, Grymsdyke Farm has been working with Buckinghamshire County Museum and St John’s School in Lacey Green on an upcoming interactive sculpture exhibition, which encourages children and families to explore creating and making with Grymsdyke’s very own modular construction system produced from recycled plastic. Material Architecture Lab, who base themselves at Grymsdyke, have developed this new construction/design system in the shapes of ‘S’, ‘U’ and ‘P’.
This will be the first ever display of SUP. This article examines the digital and manual uses of SUP.
Buckinghamshire Culture, the new cultural development partnership for Buckinghamshire needs a brand and visual identity to bring together creativity and culture across the county. We are inviting students of Buckinghamshire-based universities to pitch ideas for what this brand might look like. This brand will be used by our new partnership and the partners we work with, and will brand the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy and work carried out in its name.
We are looking for designs that are impactful and eye-catching; celebratory and fun, yet simple; low cost to implement; flexible for deployment in a range of uses; authentic to the county; effective in analogue, physical and virtual environments and protectable in terms of copyright and will not infringe existing intellectual property. The best entries will be awarded a prize and, if the entry is thought appropriate, will be developed into the formal ‘look and feel’ for the new cultural partnership and delivery of the Cultural Strategy.
This competition is open to Bucks New University students via their Head of School, Art, Design and Performance.
For University of Buckingham students – to enter, you need to submit a proposal (up to 2 A4 pages) outlining your approach and sharing sketches/examples of your brand idea in a variety of uses to Dean Jones by 1st September 2020. This proposal will be used to shortlist entries to 5, who will then be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel convened by Buckinghamshire Culture in mid-October 2020.
Buckinghamshire Culture is inviting us all to use the time of lockdown to reflect on what makes our county unique and such a special place to live. Today it launches a public, county-wide search for the 100 Objects that best define Buckinghamshire and celebrate its story. A past Prime Minister, an Olympic Gold Medallist, leading broadcasters, business, arts and political leaders – all living in Bucks – have already made their choices – now it’s your turn. Find out what Denise Lewis, Tony and Cherie Blair, Gabby Logan, Sir Clive Woodward, Dr Michael Mosely and Rachael Shimmin all chose and nominate your own objects here: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/bucks-in-100-objects
Buckinghamshire has an amazing collection of artefacts dating back over 300,000 years held in Museums, stores, archives, National Trust properties, sports venues, landscapes and gardens across the county. Taken together these objects tell the story of Buckinghamshire. And there are even more objects which help to define us and tell our story that are not part of these collections – many of these might be sitting in our high streets, riverbanks or in people’s work places, or even our hospitals.
This online campaign is a response to Covid-19, but also feeds into a larger project idea to develop the story of Bucks in 100 Objects. Eventually, we will create an exhibition, publication, county trails and a website sharing the wonderful objects and heritage that can be found across Bucks. But for now, we want to use this idea to develop connection, a sense of community and local pride. In response to Lockdown, we want to start the process of sharing, discussing and nominating objects online – via social media. This is chance to share favourite objects and aspects of Buckinghamshire’s history, as well as what you like about living here, and the reasons that you are proud of Bucks.
Bill Morris, Buckinghamshire Culture Co-Chair said:
The difficult times we’re all coping with offer us the opportunity to reflect on where we live. And most of us would agree that we’re extremely fortunate to be here in Buckinghamshire. But what makes it so special, and how can we best tell its story? We want you all to help define 100 Objects from around the county that sum up what Bucks and its people stand for.
Buckinghamshire Culture is a new cultural partnership formed to drive forward the Cultural Strategy for the county, we aim to work together with the sector and stakeholders to shape, build and celebrate a bright cultural future for Buckinghamshire. This micro-project is part of much bigger plans to develop a range of county-wide creative and cultural projects for Buckinghamshire as part of the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy.
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.
Buckinghamshire Culture, the cultural partnership being set up to energise and harness creative and cultural opportunities in Bucks, is pleased to announce the appointment of two Co-Chairs. Bill Morris LVO and Professor Julius Weinberg will work together to lead the partnership, driving forward the Cultural Strategy and Action Plan, and working closely with the Bucks Cultural Outreach Officer. These two Co-Chairs are eminently skilled and bring a great deal of experience to the partnership.
From 2006-2013 Bill led the team delivering the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Torch Relays. Bill created the strategy and architecture for the Cultural Olympiad and was responsible for the Education team producing the “Get Set” education programme and the UK contribution to the “International Inspiration” project. Bill now advises the International Olympic Committee and other worldwide clients in major events and complex cultural projects. He is an Independent Advisor for Government, a Director/Trustee of an annual UK landmark event, a trustee of a national art/educational organisation and an international ambassador for a grant-giving charity from his base in Buckinghamshire.
Julius is the Chair of Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), the inspector of services that care for children and young people and provide education and skills for learners. Prior to this he was Vice-Chancellor and President of Kingston University, London from 2011-2017. Julius qualified in medicine from the University of Oxford and has completed training as a physician in infectious diseases, general medicine and public health medicine. As a clinician, he worked within the NHS and as a consultant/lecturer in Zimbabwe. He worked for the World Health Organization in Bosnia and was head of epidemiology programmes for the UK Public Health Laboratory Service (now the HPA). He has over 70 papers published and has edited books and book chapters. He throws pots in his spare time and lives in the South of Buckinghamshire.
Over the last two years Buckinghamshire County Council has been working with partners across the county to develop a new cultural strategy for Buckinghamshire. This Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy has been created in response to consultation exploring the role culture can play in shaping Buckinghamshire and how the sector can work together to support the vibrancy, resilience and ambition of Buckinghamshire’s culture. Together the Co-Chairs will use their skills and experience to support the creative and cultural sector to make the most of the opportunities available; forging new partnerships, developing innovative projects and building a critical mass of activity across Bucks.
“As a supporter of the Bucks Cultural Strategy the Foundation is delighted that this important initiative will gain from the expertise and vision of both Bill and Julius. As a member of the cultural partnership I look forward to working alongside them to ensure that the impact of the Bucks Cultural Strategy is felt far and wide across the county.”
Ellie Stout, Head of Grants, Rothschild Foundation
Everyone involved in development of the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy and Buckinghamshire Culture would like to share their thanks to Milly Soames for being a warm and passionate interim Chair.
The Bucks Cultural Outreach Officer post has been funded by Rothschild Foundation, with seed funding from Bucks County Council. Arts Council England are supporting development of the Cultural Strategy and partnership.