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Stories of happiness at the heart of Bucks

Child at Story Stall

Residents are invited to share their tales of happiness, as the pop-up Story Stall project looks back and reflects on their successful summer of collecting stories from around Buckinghamshire.

Over the summer, the Story Stall toured the county – visiting events, markets, town centres and parks. The stall, designed by lead artist Tom Cross, encouraged people to share their stories of happiness through conversations and postcards.

Now, the Story Project artists want to invite people back to share their collective stories and experience the artists’ creative responses. The project is holding four events around the county – creating a ‘Stories of Happiness’ pop-up experience. The experience brings together a variety of displays to engage with, fun activities to do, performances to watch and mini workshops to attend too.

Bucks residents can hear live spoken word, have a go at making bunting, collect Story badges, or explore the stories of other residents.

Stories of Happiness pop-up dates

  • Friday 5 November – High Wycombe Museum unit in Eden Shopping Centre, 2-5pm
  • Saturday 6 November – Buckingham Library, 10am-1pm
  • Thursday 25 November – Elgiva Theatre in Chesham, 3-7pm
  • Friday 26 November – Petri Dish in Aylesbury, 2-5pm

No need to book, just turn up.

Summer of Stories artist sharing event

The Stories of Happiness experience will reflect on the words of happiness shared earlier this year – which included spending time with friends and family, embracing local nature and wildlife, and feeling a sense of community and belonging.

Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member Culture and Leisure, said:

“I am delighted to see how our community came together to share their stories of happiness during these difficult and challenging times. I am sure the new pop-up event will encourage people to spread the word of their happiness even further and will also inspire people to keep visiting our wonderful villages, towns and high streets.”

Tom Cross, the Story Stall lead artist, added:

“It has been amazing talking to so many people across Buckinghamshire. Of course, not everyone is happy all the time, but in our conversations, we have managed to tease out lots of brilliant things about Bucks that do make people happy – it’s great to see people’s faces light up when they remember something or somewhere that makes them really happy.”

The Story Stall programme has been created by Buckinghamshire Culture and Buckinghamshire Council, and is supported by public funding by Arts Council England, and funding from Buckinghamshire Council, Heart of Bucks and Rothschild Foundation. Part-funding for the Stories of Happiness events has been provided by Buckinghamshire Council through the European Regional Development Fund – namely the Welcome Back Fund (WBF). The WBF fund is helping events and animations across the county to encourage people back to our towns and high streets.

For more information and to see the programme for each event, please visit: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/Summer-of-Stories or see #SummerofStories on Instagram and Twitter.

Culture

Seeking a photography or moving image expert!

Action4Youth and Buckinghamshire Culture wish to appoint an artist/creative/collective specialising in photography/moving image to work with 12-18 year olds attending The Junction Youth Hub in High Wycombe.  We are seeking an artist capable of inspiring young people and encouraging them to get involved and create and shape new work together or individually.  We want to see the group creating a project output that is relevant to them and their peers (this could be an exhibition, film screening, mini festival, open day, performance etc).

This Autumn, Action4Youth will launch their new youth hub, The Junction at High Wycombe Library.  Action4Youth aim to offer a range of creative and cultural opportunities through a programme designed to introduce more young people to arts, culture and heritage.

The full brief can be found here.

Deadline for applications is: 9am, 11th October 2021

Culture

Summer of Stories

Illustration of a lion and rabbit

Buckinghamshire’s ‘Summer of Stories’ is well and truly underway – but there’s still time for you to get involved!

This summer, Buckinghamshire Culture and Buckinghamshire Council have been working together to create a Summer of Stories, focusing on a theme of ‘stories of happiness’. The ‘Story Stall’ is part of this multi-stranded project aiming to engage people across Buckinghamshire with stories and creativity.  Inspired by our strong literary heritage this project will result in animation of town centres, activity supporting wellbeing, enhancing quality of life and maintaining connection as part of wider Covid recovery.  Residents of Buckinghamshire have been invited to share and celebrate their personal stories, and those of the county itself, through conversations with artists, or via ‘Story Postcards’ at artist-led pop-up stalls across the county in markets and local high streets and at various cultural and library locations.

These stalls have been present at various events throughout the summer, starting with Whizzfizzfest on the 26th June and moving around the county since then, engaging with lots of different people from the local community – and the stories told have been just as diverse as the people telling them!

One resident recounted a tale of a man who had turned an old mattress into a paddle board and was happily rowing himself down the canal, whilst another resident reflected on the fact that the pandemic had meant he was able to get out every morning to take his dog for a walk, enjoying the local parks around the county, and being able to make it home for dinner with his 12 year old son every evening – something he had never been able to do before then.

Other recurring themes within people’s stories of happiness and tales of Buckinghamshire included a love for the red kites that circle our skies, for woodlands and parks and the canal in Aylesbury.

When summer fades, these local stories will not be forgotten; the artists who collected them will create a pop-up storytelling structure that will visit town centres around Buckinghamshire in the early Autumn – sharing a collective story of the county.

It’s not too late to get involved with the Summer of Stories! If you would like to get involved and share a story of happiness, or a story of Buckinghamshire, you can find the final few pop-up stalls in the following locations:

  • 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
Story Stall setup at Hgh Wtcombe Market

Or pick up a postcard from one of our participating libraries or cultural organisations.  There is the option to submit a story on our website, or find out more on social media using #SummerofStories.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Clive Harriss, said:

“The Summer of Stories has been a great way of engaging with the wider community and encouraging people to come together and share good news during what has been a difficult 18 months. I’m sure the artists have heard plenty of heart-warming stories about Buckinghamshire and it’s residents, and I look forward to seeing the final structure created by the artists in the Autumn!”

For more information about the Summer of Stories, visit: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/Summer-of-Stories

This programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and funding from Buckinghamshire Council, Heart of Bucks and Rothschild Foundation. 

Culture

Story Packs – Activities for School and Home

Our talented artists have created Story-themed packs for students to try in the class room, or at home. There are making and drawing activities, poetry activities and dance activities to try.

You can download the activities here:

You can share pictures of your creations on social media using #SummerOfStories

Or via our Story Form on our website: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/Summer-Of-Stories

You can also learn more about our project and how our artists are taking inspiration from stories shared by people across Buckinghamshire on our website.

Culture

Summer of Stories Filmmaker

Buckinghamshire Culture is seeking expressions of interest from filmmakers able to record, edit and produce a short film to showcase activity delivered as part of our Summer of Stories programme in 2021.  Consisting of two major strands, this programme will see activity taking place across Buckinghamshire this summer – through a touring Story Stall and resulting collective showcase, and the Open Weekend over 22-25 July.  The Story Stall will be toured by artists who will engage the public in conversations about their stories of happiness in Bucks.  The film created will share both the delivery of the programme, as well as the experiences and impact from the point of view of the participants and artists.

Deadline for expressions of interest: 5pm, 10 June 2021

Culture

Thinking Digital – online skill sharing event

Buckinghamshire Culture, Garsington Opera and Resource Productions are pleased to present an online event for the creative and cultural sector sharing digital adaptations and innovative virtual delivery skills and tips.

Thinking Digital is free and will take place on 11th February from 1pm – full details and booking here: www.thinkingdigitalbucks.eventbrite.co.uk 

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen creative and cultural organisations innovate, re-frame and develop online content thanks to rapid learning and adaptation.  To support those coming back to work, or looking for new ideas for engagement, Buckinghamshire Culture, in partnership with Garsington Opera and Resource Productions, have worked together to develop this online workshop. 

This event will focus on digital engagement and will share learning and top tips, as well as first-hand experiences of those delivering online. We aim to take away some of the fear of delivering online for the first time and share tips for those that have some experience already. There will be a creative, participatory element to the session when the group is invited to devise a new Chorus with Garsington Opera’s Richard Taylor and Karen Gillingham, so you can experience online creative engagement first hand and be inspired to try your own version. We will finish with a Q&A and brief panel discussion of what further advice, input, sharing or support attendees would like to see next.

We have curated a programme of speakers from Buckinghamshire and beyond covering a range of topics:

  • Adapting and pivoting activities for online engagement
  • Sharing tips for use of digital tools such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Youtube, Google classroom etc
  • Engaging vulnerable people online
  • Supporting those with multiple needs or limited experience to engage online
  • Skills and performance tips for online delivery
  • Working inclusively online
  • Opening doors to collections and resources using virtual access
  • Increasing certain audiences who might prefer online engagement
  • Working with artists and practitioners in a digital space
  • Tips for successful online engagement.

This event has been funded by Rothschild Foundation.

Culture

New Programme Supporting Our Creative and Cultural Leaders Launches

Buckinghamshire Culture has commissioned Cultural Associates Oxford to develop and deliver a bespoke leadership programme for the county called Bucks Cultural Leaders.  This new online leadership programme and network for leaders and innovators across the creative and cultural sector in Bucks has been designed to respond positively and proactively to the impact of Covid-19, and to support the cultural eco-system of Buckinghamshire at a time of great challenge for the cultural sector.

A multi-faceted programme of leadership sessions, peer mentoring, action research and professional development has been developed by Cultural Associates Oxford, who will bring their own experience and skills to the programme, as well as enlisting the support of external speakers.  The programme will begin in February and take place throughout the year until Autumn 2021. 

The application process was launched in November 2020 and the panel met just before Christmas to review an impressive collection of applications.  22 innovators and leaders from the Bucks creative and cultural sectors have been offered a place on Bucks Cultural Leaders.  The response from our successful applicants has been fantastic and shows that this programme is extremely timely:

That’s brilliant news! Something really positive to look forward to, just at a time when we need to be working collaboratively. I shall get started on my reading and send the bio and pic to you.

Thanks for sending me this good news. After yesterday’s announcement and losing another project to the continued lockdown it was most welcome!

Many thanks and I am delighted to have been accepted on the course! Now for the homework…… Well done in getting this off the ground – its brilliant and much needed.

I’ve had to re-read this a couple of times to check it’s real! I am delighted to have been offered a place and I know I will get so much out of this opportunity.  This news has put a spring in my step on a day that was significantly lacking in positivity for obvious reasons.

With warmest wishes and thanks to you and the team that have put this together

Participants on this leadership course represent the breadth of the Bucks creative and cultural sector, including: Amersham Museum, Buckinghamshire Archives, Buckinghamshire Culture, Bucks County Museum, Bucks New University, Buska Video, Chiltern Arts, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Fish Eye Film Fest, Garsington Opera, Milton’s Cottage, National Paralympic Heritage Centre, Obsidian Art, Queens Park Arts Centre, Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Signdance Collective, The Buckinghamshire Craft Guild, The Elgiva, The Theatre Shed, Waddesdon, Wycombe Museum, Wycombe Swan.

A complementary programme of business and cultural development workshops will also be offered to participants, their colleagues and the wider creative and cultural sector to support re-building after the pandemic.  These will begin in April 2021 and be announced soon.

Bucks Cultural Leaders has been funded by the Rothschild Foundation, Arts Council England and Buckinghamshire Council.

Uncategorized

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.

Culture

Looking for a different kind of Christmas Quiz?

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.

You can download the quiz and the answers below: