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.
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.