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.

Culture

New Leadership Programme to help Bucks cultural professionals build back better

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.

Culture

What is your favourite Buckinghamshire object?

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.

To follow the campaign, see #Bucks100 on Twitter and Instagram and our growing list of nominations on our website: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/bucks-in-100-objects

If you want to nominate an object, please see the information below for how to submit an object for inclusion.

If you have an object that you wish to nominate:

Email nominations directly to: culture@buckscountymuseum.org – each nomination must include: –        

  • An image or a video of the object that you feel is important to Buckinghamshire’s story – ideally images should be 1080 x 1920 pixels and no bigger than 4MB,
  • Up to 500 words providing a description of the object, what Buckinghamshire means to you, and why this object is important, this will be posted on our website with your object image. 

To be considered as one of the 100 objects, nominations must be for: –

  • Physical objects within Bucks,
  • Objects that hold some kind of heritage, cultural or community value,
  • Be available to be photographed/videoed if not actually on display
  • Objects must be suitable for people all ages.

For more information, or for a document you can share with others, please see the call out below:

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. 

Culture

Buckinghamshire community encouraged to share lockdown stories

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.zingari@buckingham.ac.uk.  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.

Culture, Uncategorized

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.