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

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

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

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: