Celebrating 10 years since the London 2012 Paralympics

This year, in the county where the Paralympic movement started, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympics.  We will honour the work of Dr Guttman and Buckinghamshire’s position as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement through a collaborative project bringing together cultural organisations and d/Deaf and disabled Community Curators across the county.

Together We Build will share the story of the Paralympics, the forerunner of which Dr Guttman started in Stoke Mandeville in the 1940s; now known all over the world.  We will do so in Autumn 2022 through a multi-site exhibition and accessible events programme across 10 well-loved Bucks cultural venues.  This work will be backed up by training in access and disability awareness, development of an Access Manifesto and collection of memories and reflections relating to the 2012 Paralympics.

We want to share the voices of d/Deaf and disabled residents by empowering them to take on the role of Community Curators, to choose an object that will form part of the exhibition.  Working with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, our Community Curators will create their own interpretation, sharing why their chosen object is important to them, and what it means to them now.  They will also work closely with the host cultural venues to develop associated, accessible events and activities, forming a collective programme across the county.

The interpretation created by our Community Curators will be displayed alongside the curatorial/factual details for the object, sharing and valuing the voices of this community.  We are seeking 10 Community Curators – for details of how to apply please see: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/Together-We-Build

Waddesdon Manor are leading on a schools programme for this project and will create a schools resource inspired by the objects chosen by our Community Curators, as well as hosting a schools event on site in September.

We will be offering small grants to voluntary heritage and community organisations that wish to develop and deliver an event inspired by the Paralympics, paired with one of our host venues and as part of the collective programme of activity in Autumn 2022 – details on criteria and how to apply coming soon.

Bill Morris, Co-Chair of Buckinghamshire Culture said, “It is fantastic to see so many of our cultural organisations coming together to share the story of the Paralympics.  I look forward to seeing what objects the Community Curators choose and how they tell their stories, as well as that of the Paralympic through the exhibition.”

Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure said: “This is such an important story for our county, yet we often find that although it is well-known in Stoke Mandeville where it all started, and internationally, it is not well-known across wider parts of Buckinghamshire.  It is brilliant that our cultural partners want to celebrate it and share the story with people across the whole county and beyond.”

Buckinghamshire Culture is leading this project.  Project partners include those who hold Paralympic collections: Buckinghamshire Archives, Discover Bucks Museum, National Paralympic Heritage Trust and Waddesdon Manor.  And those who will host objects, displays and events for our exhibition: Amersham Museum, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Bekonscot, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Discover Bucks Museum, The Elgiva, Marlow Library, Milton’s Cottage, Queens Park Arts Centre and Waddesdon Manor.

For further information about the project and to see all opportunities as they arise please see: www.buckinghamshireculture.org/Together-We-Build and #TogetherWeBuildBucks on social media.  Or contact Lallie: Lallie@buckinghamshireculture.org

Together We Build is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.  Support has also been provided by Buckinghamshire Council.