Get Involved in Open Weekend

Article contents: What is the Open Weekend? / How will it work? / What kinds of events or activities can be included? / What are the benefits of taking part in Open Weekend? / How can I/my organisation get involved? / Is there any funding available to support Open Weekend activity? / Are there any key dates we need to know about? / What if we aren’t able to hold an event, can we still support the Open Weekend? / Where did this idea come from?

What is the Open Weekend?

The first ever Open Weekend for Buckinghamshire will take place over a long weekend – 22nd-25th July 2021 (in celebration of Buckinghamshire Day) and we hope it will become an annual event. 

Open Weekend is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the range and breadth of creativity and culture taking place in Buckinghamshire. 

In 2021, Open Weekend will have the theme of stories – sharing, collecting and celebrating stories of our residents and our county in creative ways. 

The event will form part of a wider programme of Storytelling activity over the Summer.  The idea is that organisations, artists/creatives, community centres, schools, businesses and Community Boards put on story-themed activity and events over this long weekend in July.  We will ‘badge’ existing and planned activity, alongside one-off events to showcase the range of creativity taking place in the county, and to encourage people to have a go.  We want to show-off all the great creative and cultural activity going on.

For ideas and advice on planning your event, as well as the option to ask questions about the registration process and micro grants available, please join us for an Open Weekend workshop:

Open Weekend Workshop 1, 7th June, 2-3pm:

Open Weekend Workshop 2, 10th June, 11-12noon:

How will it work?

Buckinghamshire Culture are working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council to co-ordinate this event.  We will ask interested organisations, groups or individuals to register their event or activity with us, outlining when it will take place and how people take part.  We will compile a programme that contains all of the events and promote/market this through our combined networks and via social media.

We will provide marketing collateral to show each event is part of the Open Weekend.  We will provide a communication toolkit to make it as easy as possible to promote your event and contribute to the cross-promotion of the Open Weekend.

We will ask you to do some light-touch evaluation and feedback numbers of attendees and other data directly to us so that we can collate the overall engagement and impact of the event.  It is hoped that Covid-19 restrictions will have lifted by 22nd July in line with the Government’s road map, however we urge everyone to have a Plan B in case restrictions are still in place.

What kinds of events or activities can be included?

Face to face « In person « Outdoors « Walks « Trails « Tours « Town Centre or High Street activity « Performances « Music « Online « Live streamed « Recorded « via Social Media « Free « Nominal charge.

Some ideas include:

  • Sharing stories of the past – historic buildings and market towns – tours, talks and walks
  • Encouraging people to share their memories of a place (or the story of them) in creative ways – collage, drawing, poetry etc
  • Song writing workshops to write local folk songs/tales
  • Book or poetry readings or storytelling sessions
  • Zine making workshops to share and take home short stories
  • Creating new stories based on photos or objects from Museum collections
  • Writing letters to the past, or future, telling the story of now
  • Making short animations to tell your story, or the story of where you live
  • Sharing local stories/histories on social media – could be ‘on this day….’
  • Collecting memories of your organisation or business – from customers, clients, volunteers, staff etc

Please consider any Covid-19 restrictions in place.

What are the benefits of taking part in Open Weekend?

This county-wide initiative will be a celebration of stories and creativity which aims to help you to re-engage with audiences, visitors and customers in the aftermath of lockdown.  As the town centres, high streets, shops, cafes and cultural venues re-open, we want to help you to encourage people back to public spaces and cultural venues. 

We aim to help you to increase footfall and engagement and promote creativity and culture and the benefits it brings for our residents.  By taking part in this co-ordinated event, you will both contribute to, and benefit from, a critical mass of activity and promotion across the county.

Umbrella marketing will include:

Programme of events « Open Weekend web page « Cross-promotion from others taking part « Social media via Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Culture channels and supported by participating organisations  « Use of the Open Weekend logo and brand to promote your event and show you are part of the wider initiative « Press releases for Open Weekend to raise awareness « Communications toolkit « Marketing collateral to help promote and identify your event, such as: posters, stickers, balloons…

How can I/my organisation get involved?

Contribute an event or activity to the Open Weekend programme – this could be:

  • An event you are already running that meets the theme.
  • An event you have adapted to meet the theme.
  • An event you have developed and put together specifically for the Open Weekend.

To do this you will need to submit your event via our event form by the deadline of 21st June 2021. Events must be submitted via this form.  Please note we will ask you to confirm that you have appropriate insurance and policies in place for delivery of public-facing events.

Download our FAQ doc here:

Is there any funding available to support Open Weekend activity?

Yes!  We have seed funding of £250 available for organisations, artists, creatives wishing to deliver a creative story themed event for Open Weekend.

Seed funding is available to:

  • Creative or cultural not-for-profit organisations creating something new or enhancing their existing programme to meet the stories theme – this money could be used to pay an artist, performer or designer to be part of your event.
  • Artists or creatives delivering an activity for Open Weekend.

You are welcome to add the seed funding to funding from other sources to make your event bigger.

Are there any key dates we need to know about?

Yes!  Here are the key dates:

29th March and 1st April – Open Weekend Information Sessions

26th May – Open Weekend registration opens for events to be submitted

26th May – Open Weekend seed funding opens to applications

7th and 10th June – Open Weekend Workshops

21st June – deadline for events and seed funding applications

22nd-25th July – Open Weekend

25th August – Evaluation to be provided to Buckinghamshire Culture

What if we aren’t able to hold an event, can we still support the Open Weekend?

We’d love your help to promote the Open Weekend – we will create a communications pack to help with this and we would love if it if you can help share the creative activities taking place across the county via social media, newsletters and word of mouth.

Where did this idea come from?

This idea has come out of discussions about the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy, and how we can make creativity and culture in the county more accessible to more people.  We have lots of inspirational cultural organisations running fantastic activities, but we know that not everyone feels comfortable going into them and we want to change that by encouraging people to drop in and have a go.  We want to celebrate the range of creative activities that happen here – showing off what our residents make, bake, create, grow and produce.  So, if you can team up and put on an event, talk, walk etc you can take part too. 

Please note that Buckinghamshire Culture is not endorsing activities included in the Open Weekend programme and each event organiser is responsible for the smooth running of their event.  Buckinghamshire Culture is taking the lead on co-ordinating and promotion activity in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council.