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