With more time online and less opportunity to congregate, #MyStory was devised to allow opportunity for people to come together to create; irrelevant of background age or art form.
Could we all work together on a project to meet individual needs, develop ideas, enable creative dreams and provide opportunity to share the work at a public event. Could we bridge the gap from early career to established artist imparting knowledge and skills, if so how, perhaps through sharing stories.
The project was designed to enable and encourage ideas in all project partners and make the most of resources and staff available through Herts Libraries. – The role of Libraries is changing as they move away from Local Authority to stand alone and forge their own role in the community, providing opportunity to congregate, perform and learn whilst sharing expertise and resources. As custodians of stories #My Story has been a good fit, helping libraries to further develop their current cultural offer whilst providing opportunity to reach new audiences in new ways. #MyStory content has been devised and led by the creative community in each locality, with the final event format formed and shaped over a three-month period. This piece of cocreation has not been delivered but has evolved; a new form of creative engagement, open in approach and informed by members of the community engaged in the project.
We have entered into a new creative experience and approach to project delivery for all of us. Not merely reaching new audiences but reaching out to like-minded creatives who took a jump with us and reached back. A new experience, a time of change, transitional for all involved, at whatever different life stage – our shared experience a reflection of the project itself.
Many people have a story to share and it was decided that adolescence could be an interesting time period to focus on and provide interesting content, stories of transition, life changing moments and memorable events. Story authors’ were invited to participate in creative sessions but most were happy to remain silent contributors’ whilst the project team focussed on translating story content into works of art.
These stories, kindly shared for the purpose of the project offer an insightful glimpse into adolescent experiences throughout an expansive time period. These stories have allowed #MyStory project team to consider common themes and challenges experienced by #MyStory Authors.
The project was programmed as a series of creative sessions, their purpose; to explore the stories, develop creative content and plan events. The role of the associate artists quickly became one of arts facilitator supporting #MyStory project team to produce works of art across art forms. Ten associate artists sit around the project offering expertise and guidance where necessary and, in some instances, have been able to add to the #MyStory collection through the creation of new art inspired by submitted stories.
As part of the project we explored adolescent diaries with Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies which allowed insight into the works of an adolescent war poet with an ability to mask the truth. The poet in question translated war into beautiful works drawing on the natural World to present an alternative to the grim reality of war.
The stories themselves reveal snapshots through time, tales of success, human spirit, triumphs and challenge. Images of the World at war, insights into nasty racism, romantic deception, survival of falling bombs, terrifying fathers, young mothers, finding independence, sexism in education, a sloppy first kiss and the human emotional tool of masking the truth.
It became clear after the first week of creative sessions that plenty of work was in production and the roles of the project team quickly became clear. Artists have translated different aspects of the stories, creating some of the imagery contained within.
#MyStory is rich in content and the project has become its own story with a wealth of new creations, new relationships, fresh ways of working and new stories emerging as #MyStory takes us on a new creative journey.
‘Because his story, her story and their story is what, as humans, we are all about and always will be..’
#MyStory team succesfully delivered two public events at Oxhey and Hertford Libraries including a #fantasticforfamilies workshop to reach younger audiences, the #MyStory exhibition will be installed at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies in 2020 and can currently be found at Performing Arts Central Stocks Unit in Welwyn.
If you are interested in becoming involved by submitting a story, becoming an associate artist or joining the project team, please get in touch.
‘Life ain’t all you want but it’s what you’ve got, stick a geranium in your ‘at and be ‘appy.’