Summer of Stories – what’s your story?

We are making this summer, the Summer of Stories. We are inviting residents to share and celebrate their personal stories, and those of Buckinghamshire itself. There will be lots of opportunities to share stories in creative ways, through an artist-led Story Project throughout the summer, and the Open Weekend event taking place over a long weekend, 22-25 July.

The Story Project will see artists touring a pop-up Story Stall – think artist-designed market stall – to locations across Buckinghamshire and encouraging people to share their stories. Our lead artist, Tom Cross, will design the Story Stall, which will collect stories using postcards, and through conversations with the public.  Starting at WhizzFizzFest (26 June), and touring the county over the summer, the Stall will visit events, markets and high streets – engaging lots of different people. The artists will then respond to all of the stories they hear over the summer and create a pop-up storytelling structure that will visit town centres across Bucks in early autumn.

Lead artist, Tom Cross says: “I am excited to be working in Buckinghamshire, and looking forward to the moments of wonder, joy and sadness that I know I will experience, hearing and sharing stories of residents. This is a great opportunity to celebrate Buckinghamshire and the people that live here – especially now things are re-opening after lockdown.

“Story Stall will also be part of our story-themed Open Weekend. For Open Weekend, 22-25 July, we will be promoting a four-day programme of activities themed to stories and we want everyone to come along and be part of it. This will be a celebration of creativity, culture and stories. Organisations, groups and businesses across Buckinghamshire are invited to contribute events to create an exciting and varied programme of activity for people to join in with. We hope to see workshops, talks, walks, demonstrations, open days and many more things that you can enjoy or have a go at!”

Councillor Clive Harriss, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Buckinghamshire Council said: “I would like to thank our partners Buckinghamshire Culture, Arts Council England, Heart of Bucks and the Rothschild Foundation for their support and additional funding which has enabled us to run these amazing events.

We think Buckinghamshire is a county of great stories, not just from Milton to Dahl and opera to film, but all of its resident’s experiences and tales. In time, we aim to create an annual Storytelling Festival for the county. This is just the beginning.”

This programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and funding from Buckinghamshire Council, Heart of Bucks and Rothschild Foundation.

Look out for Story Project and Open Weekend updates on our website: / Twitter: @BucksCulture / Instagram: @Bucks_Culture. We’ll also be using the hashtags #BucksOpenWeekend for Open Weekend content and #SummerOfStories for Story Project content.

For any organisations, charities or groups keen to join in with Open Weekend, please see our website for details on how to register your event (registrations opened on 26 May):

Ideas for Open Weekend contributors:

  • 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.
  • ine 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.