What We Did Last Year (April 2022 – March 2023)
Following the request from University Centre Shrewsbury for the Charity to vacate its premises, and a subsequent decision to revert to a digital museum with outreach projects, the majority of the artefacts were dispersed during the year. This transition back to a virtual museum was the main focus of the Charity’s activity.
Loaned items were returned to their owners.
In April 2022, the Centre for Folklore, Myth and Magic in Todmorden took possession of Mythstories’ library, the Society for Storytelling library and the audio archive of the London Centre for International Storytelling. This enabled all 3,000+ books to be kept together and be accessible to the public, to storytellers and researchers.
We were unable to find a UK home for the two processional giants, Bertilak de Haut Desert and Morgan Le Fey. In September they were 3D scanned courtesy of the University of Chester.
They were then taken down and travelled to La Maison Des Geants, Ath, Belgium where they are now displayed alongside other European giants.
In January the screen and cartoons originally commissioned as stage and set dressings by The Flying Donkeys storyclub were transferred to A Word In Edgeways.
This organisation promotes a spoken word festival and events in South Shropshire, so the artefacts will now be re-used for their original purpose.
The Edric & Godda Storyscape, commissioned with funding from Arts Council England, has been transferred to the Titterstone Clee Trust, an organisation that encourages public engagement with the culture and landscape of that part of Edric’s historic kingdom.
Ownership of the Gilgamesh tablets and paintings has been transferred to The University of Chester so they may remain on display in the courtyard and library at University Centre Shrewsbury.
Many of the other artefacts were dispersed to two primary schools as part of Telling Our Stories, a University of Chester research project exploring the use of storytelling objects in the Primary curriculum. Grosvenor Park Academy, Chester received the Ramayana, North American and South American constellations in July, while Mount Pleasant Primary, Shrewsbury, took possession of the Shropshire and Folk Customs constellations in September.
Storyteller, Dawn Powell, has been in the schools to demonstrate sample workshops and help staff explore ways of using the artefacts.
The project, which is still on-going, has already highlighted two major difficulties schools face in integrating new forms of creativity into their curriculum: the already heavy staff workload and the lack of flexibility in a tightly forward-planned school year. We look forward to seeing the different perspectives of the final report, which will also look at the digital resources teachers feel they need. A documentary film is being made of the process by film-maker, Phil Hirst.
The beginning of the year saw the final two workshops for home-educating families looking at the history and stories of the now redundant Newport – Shrewsbury canal took place. These were run in partnership with The Hive, an arts and well-being venue in Shrewsbury. The pottery plaques created by the group will be installed along the line of the canal bed later in 2023.
Also during the year Mythstories’ Arts Award Adviser worked with one young home-educated person to successfully complete his Bronze Arts Award.
During the year Mythstories was active on social media promoting the collection and the work of the Charity. ArtUK, whose website displays the paintings in the Mythstories collection, also ran two features on Mythstories artist-in-residence.
They also added cushions, mugs and art materials featuring Mythstories’ paintings to the range of prints available from their on-line print-on-demand shop.