In the Summer of 2016 SSB were contacted by Awards for All and offered £500 towards a special project of our choice. We decided to launch an Artist’s Commission and invited applications from artists responding to the themes that SSB promotes. Aided by a freelance curator, trustees made the difficult selection from a number of outstanding applications. We were delighted to announce local author and storyteller, Steph Bradley, as the winner of the artist’s commission. Steph worked with local people to create ‘The Tale of how South Brent became Sustainable’; an interactive performance which had its first airing at the 10 year celebrations.
Beginning in the Spring of 2017 is a weekly after-school storytelling club at the primary school and the Brent archive which will be housed at the Old School Community Centre.
The Brent Storytellers’ vision is to create opportunities for old and young, and everyone in between, to collect and share the stories of South Brent and district in a variety of ways.
The after school club is open to 7-11 year olds on term-time Tuesdays from 3.30-4.45. It is ideal for children wishing to learn how to collect and tell true stories.
The Brent Archive begins with a generous offering from local historian Christine Scott of all the research materials that went into the books of Diptford, Avonwick and North Huish, as well as funding from the local history society she once ran. Community Head Librarian, Lyn Dent, is working with Steph Bradley to get the material catalogued and archived so that the community will be able to access it easily. Longer term plans include getting the material onto a website and holding regular archive afternoons in the Old School.
The school club and the archive project will come together at regular Tea Parties where the young people will meet the older people of Brent to collect their memories, both using, and adding to, the archive. Stories will be recorded in a variety of ways and perhaps broadcast on South Brent local radio. A longer term goal is to host a summer Local Storytelling Day in the village.
The project start-up costs are covered by a FeOffees grant, with materials and resources expenses covered by SSB.
The Brent Storytellers are a working group of SSB and welcome new members to come and get involved. We would love to hear from anyone with archivist skills/experience, but also anyone with an interest in local history, oral storytelling, and working with young people and older people. The Archive project will also soon be open to receiving donations of any photographs, documents, newspaper clipping, recordings and other memories of Brent and its surrounding villages.