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Buckinghamshire Open Weekend – a success all round!

participants enjoying Buckinghamshire Council Archaeology Day - male person with metal helmet.
Buckinghamshire Council Archaeology Day

This second ‘Open Weekend’ in Buckinghamshire, took place over four days from 28 -31 July and showcased the breadth of creative and cultural activities across the county. The theme, ‘trees and green’, was inspired by the Platinum Jubilee 2022 ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ project. It led to creative projects, workshops and performances which encouraged creative engagement with nature, trees, green spaces, landscape, and their heritage, combining cultural activities with being outside and the potential to benefit participants health and wellbeing.

The Buckinghamshire Culture team managed to sample some of the events and shares some of their impressions below.

Kicking off the activities on Thursday morning at Missenden Walled Garden, artist Harsha Basu’s ‘Tree of Life – Community Art Project’ involved making paints from natural materials and plants and creating a community art work that will adorn the club room at the garden.

The garden at Milton’s Cottage was the beautiful backdrop for artist Frog Morris’ ‘Tree of Knowledge’ workshop, engage visitors in making their own book inspired by the poet Milton’s work and ideas.

‘Tree Pottery’ at the Chiltern Open Air Museum meant working with clay and resulted in some intricately ornate 3-D works, using leaves as mould or working free hand.

Wycombe Arts Centre became host to two open weekend events on Friday:

The dance group Dew Dances created a beautiful performance specifically for Open Weekend, inspired by trees and childhood memories. Whilst at the ‘Journey Stick Sculpture Workshop’ young participants got creative stripping bark from branches to create a blank canvas to paint on, creating small but perfectly formed individual creative stick sculptures.

The artist led workshop ‘Let’s Goa Green’ at Wycombe Youth Space organised by FEEDBACK on Saturday morning engaged all ages in exploring the culture of Goa; creating natural colours, painting inspired by the culture of the region and in the end cooking and eating together. A complete and inspiring experience in many ways.

Marlow Museum put on a programme under the appropriate title ‘In the Company of the Green Man’. The Audience of regular museum visitors as well as Saturday afternoon shoppers was enjoying inspired by the Marlow Ukulele Orchestra or blown away by the witty words of the custom made ‘Tree Rap’. Plant sales for charity and tree themed biscuits completed the fun filled afternoon that made everyone aware of the offers of the museum and the wider creative community in Marlow.

Sunday afternoon saw the last performance of ‘Dalia’ at Garsington Opera. The team had made prices accessible throughout all 3 performances particularly for Open Weekend visitors. The community opera centering around a Syrian refugee girl finding her calling in cricket, involved school children and a wide range of members of the community in roles of the chorus – all beautifully scripted and sung in the amazing environment of the Wormsley Estate.

This is of course only a small snapshot of some of the activities the team were able to see for themselves and there was a much larger variety of brilliant events and activities happening.

Bill Morris and Julius Weinberg, Buckinghamshire Culture Co-chairs were both very happy with how the weekend went: “We would like to thank all those who have made this year’s Open Weekend such a success: the organisers, project partners and participants.

“We hope you can all build on the experiences you have had and the connections you made, growing Buckinghamshire’s reputation as an exciting place for artists to work as well as for audiences to explore activities. The concept and how Bucks organisations and individuals value being part of something bigger than themselves has come together and we are hoping to do it all again next year.”

Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, added: “We are extremely proud to be able to present such a wide range in terms of geographical coverage – from Buckingham in the North to the Ivers in the South – as well as in terms of organisers involved. We had both larger established cultural institutions as well as young artists starting out on their first community led arts projects. The Open Weekend offered something creative for families and everyone in the community. We are grateful for all who got involved in the event, as well as for the residents that offered us support during the weekend.”

Organised by Buckinghamshire Culture with the support of Buckinghamshire Council and Visit Buckinghamshire, it was a celebration of all things creative and cultural that Buckinghamshire has to offer. This project is supported through funding from Buckinghamshire Council and the Rothschild Foundation.  -ends-

Notes to Editors:

If you want more information about the individual organisers mentioned in the text, please follow the links below:

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Buckinghamshire Culture Directory – A First Step – Call for creatives to sign up!

One outcome of the Artist Networking Meetings Buckinghamshire Culture has organised successfully in the past, was that a lot of our partners would find a directory on the our website useful.

We have already got a list  of venues and the institutions, which can all be found on our interactive map here, but we would like to add artists, creatives and freelancers to make them more visible. At the same time, we are working on a different presentation, in form of a directory, rather than a map.

This will include images representing artists’ work, their preferred medium(s), a tagline to describe them/their work, a short info text, website and social media links. And the page will also tell potential partners what kind of cooperation or projects the artists are interested in.
 
We would like to start the work on this by encouraging all artists, creatives and freelancers who would like to be listed in our specific Buckinghamshire Culture directory to sign up via this form.
 
It may take further work and a bit of time, so please bear with us, but gathering your information would be a first step.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Nadia@buckinghamshireculture.org in case you have any questions.

We are looking forward to receiving your information.

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Seeking Maternity Cover for Director

Our Director is going on maternity leave in October and we’re looking for someone (or some people) to handover the reins to, whilst she is away. This role will continue to build on the great work achieved to date, and will oversee the projects and operations of Buckinghamshire Culture.

The successful candidate(s) will be passionate about creativity and culture. They will manage the Buckinghamshire Culture Project Co-ordinator, and will work with a range of project contractors and stakeholders to deliver activity in support of the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy. This includes maintaining and strengthening the charity and its governance, as well as the range of projects and initiatives currently in delivery.

For the full details about the role, how it might be fulfilled (this could be as an employee, freelancer, job share or secondment), and how to apply, please download the job description below.

Please note that a discussion about prioritisation, dependent on an applicant’s skills and experience, will be part of the process to ensure a manageable workload can be achieved.

Deadline for applications: 9am, 16th August 2022

Interviews will take place: w/c 22nd August 2022

Please send applications to Lallie: Lallie@buckinghamshireculture.org

If you wish to speak to the current Director, Lallie or one of our two Co-Chairs, Bill or Julius before applying, please get in touch to arrange a call.

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PRESS RELEASE

Come along to Buckinghamshire Open Weekend 28– 31 July – first list of activities announced!

Open Weekend 2021- Amersham Museum Art and Stories in the Garden

We’re delighted to share the first glimpse of what is on offer as part of Open Weekend 2022 in Buckinghamshire. The event aims to showcase the breadth of creative and cultural venues and things you can do across the county. We can now share more details of what’s happening, from creative workshops to walks, performances and open days all linked to this year’s topic of ‘trees and green.’

This subject has inspired institutions, groups and individual artists to register their events as part of our collective celebration. Activities are taking place across the county. You might want to join Discover Bucks Museum, Wycombe Museum, Garsington Opera, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire Archives or Milton’s Cottage for their events.  And there are lots of opportunities to discover something new, such as: Storytelling events, backstage tours at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, painting with natural colours, walking tours around cultural content or photo walks, performances of songs to poetry readings – and much more.   The full event list can be found here: https://www.visitbuckinghamshire.org/attraction/bucks-open-weekend

Julius Weinberg, Buckinghamshire Culture Co-Chair said: “We would like to thank all those who have come forward with such interesting and varied projects. We are very proud of the wide range of activities there are to shout about this year. This shows the success of this county-wide concept and how Bucks organisations and individuals value being part of something bigger than themselves!“

Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, added: “The quality of projects Buckinghamshire Culture received is really outstanding and it is great to see how the theme of ‘trees and green’ has been interpreted so creatively!  Open Weekend will be full of things to do for families, but also for everyone else who wants to experience something exciting in Buckinghamshire.”

This is the second ‘Open Weekend’ event in Buckinghamshire, taking place over four days from 28 -31 July. This year’s topic of ‘trees and green’ was originally inspired by the Platinum Jubilee 2022 ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ project. It will encourage people to engage creatively with nature, trees, green spaces, landscape, and their heritage. Activities are inspired by, or take place near, local trees, in woodland, parkland and other green spaces. Combining cultural activities with being outside also gives this year’s Open Weekend activities the potential for particular benefit for residents’ health and wellbeing. Organised by Buckinghamshire Culture with the support of Buckinghamshire Council and Visit Buckinghamshire, it will be a celebration of all things creative and cultural that Buckinghamshire has to offer.

This programme is supported through funding from Buckinghamshire Council and the Rothschild Foundation. 

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Notes to Editors:

  • Take a look at the Open Weekend What’s On (https://www.visitbuckinghamshire.org/attraction/bucks-open-weekend ) to find out what’s happening – and try something new this July! Look out on social media for updates and details of events shared by project partners: Buckinghamshire Culture, Buckinghamshire Council and Visit Bucks.
  • Buckinghamshire Culture is the 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.  Open Weekend is just one part of wider plans to develop a range of county-wide creative and cultural projects for Buckinghamshire, as part of the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy. 

The Rothschild Foundation is a charity that supports arts and heritage, the environment, education and social welfare by awarding grants, fostering dialogue and debate, and through our support of Waddesdon Manor. Support for arts and cultural organisations is made available through our Strategic Fund.

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Seeking an Inclusion Expert

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.

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Co-Chairs for the Cultural Partnership

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.