Stick story maps are a tool that Helen uses with groups creating stories in a particular landscape. Participants are given a stick and some string and encouraged to find objects that illustrate aspects of their story and tie them on as prompts when re-telling their story. The sticks illustrated were created from work in and around the Oriel Gallery in Newtown, Powys whilst working with artist Bec Knight.
Rick collects roof slates and uses them to make pentatonic (5 note) marimbas, struck with soft mallets. Each slate must pass the test of having a strong tone when struck. He often incorporates the playing and painting of these in creative schools’ work, then leaving them situated somewhere like the school garden, so they are accessible and playable. These examples are from a project with the primary school at Chirk.
“Your book was so real, I thought I was in it.”
(Alice, age 9, re ‘Frances Fisher RIP’)
Frances Fisher, RIP was a the outcome of a project undertaken in 1993-4 as a Sunderland Childrens Live Literature Residency. The project was initiated and co-ordinated by Sunderland Leisure Libraries and Arts and involved a programme of work with Year 5 and 6 children from four schools. Through the sessions the children developed the storyline and characters, and worked on illustrations with the help of Jonathan Korejko. The project culminated in the publication of ‘Frances Fisher RIP’, a novel co-written and illustrated by the children, and won the 1995-6 Libraries Initiative Award.
After Offa is an oral heritage project about community, story and landscape, between Chirk Castle, Bronygarth and Sycharth, Llansilin.
The project, set up by Bronygarth Social Committee and directed by Helen, ran from 2010 to 2012. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Shropshire County Council. Workshops with schools and local groups, community events and interviews with local people generated a wealth of stories, songs and photographs. Working with Sarah Anderson and Simon Greaves, Helen edited and published this material in the “After Offa” book and map and a CD entitled “Border Talk”, and brought it to life in a series of storywalks.
“We can tell from the Iron Age hill forts, menhirs and cairns in this area that it has been occupied for thousands of years…It has been fought over, hunted on, carved out, farmed, quarried, built upon and walked over by generation after generation.
“…the everyday experience of people who have lived and worked close to the land, taking part in activities that have helped to shape it, and the deep knowledge of the local landscape that arises out of this, usually only survive through oral tradition. Where this thread is broken, that history is lost.
“The After Offa project has been more than lucky in the huge number of local people who have shared this oral heritage. Their generosity in passing on family and personal stories, songs and reminiscences, lets new generations, and newcomers too, see an inside view, and feel a sense of place.”
Click here to view the After Offa map. For more photos from the project visit http://www.aqueducks.org/aowalks.html. All material from the project is held in the archives of Shropshire County Council.
Welcome to our new website, updated in time for the 2019 summer season.
Many thanks to Oswestry based web designer Jewelion for setting up our new site. We hope that you will find it easier and more attractive to use, but please do tell us if you run into any glitches as you browse so that we can iron out any teething troubles.
Among the new features on the site is our online calendar, which should enable you for most public events to click a link straight to the venue or organiser for ticket bookings.
We hope to fill the new site with pictures to tell our stories and give a fuller flavour of our work. If you’ve enjoyed one of our events and taken photos there, please do send us a pdf or jpeg file so we can add your pictures to our gallery (though please note that permission must be given for any photos including children).