The Story Box exhibition

By Emma

People from Newcastle have been recording digital stories about their lives to capture a slice of the city’s history. The stories created will go on show in a new exhibition at Newcastle City Library, which opens on 12 May.

The digital stories, which are made using recordings, photographs and drawings, have all been made as part of The Story Box project which is recording and archiving stories made by people in Newcastle, preserving them for future generations.

Alex Henry, Founder of Curiosity Creative CIC, who has organised the exhibition, said:

“We asked people to record their own story, inspired by an object that has special meaning to them. So we have stories about items of jewellery, family photos and even a handmade electric guitar. All these items helped to unlock people’s memories of their lives which have then been recorded as digital stories.”

The stories will be shown in the exhibition at Newcastle city library, including a story recorded by Andy, who recounts how began busking in Newcastle, and Sue, who talks about a precious family photo from her first holiday abroad.

A story by Mark ‘The Byker Lion’ James tells how he grew up in Byker in the 1940s and, years later, wrote successful stories based on his early life.

“At the age of 48 I went along to Heaton Adult Education Centre. We were encouraged to write short stories to improve our spelling. I wrote about the daft antics I got up to as a kid, like building my bogie with my mother’s old pram, swinging from the trees in Heaton Park, wrestling with the PE teacher in the school gym, and fighting with the school bully on Byker Park. I’ve still got the scars.

“Some of my stories won awards, and were broadcast on local radio. The Byker Lion’s the title of the original little book which was sold for a children’s charity.

“That skinny little kid, alias the Byker Lion, was given another chance to laugh at life again. Me, I’ll laugh along with him, why aye I will, and maybe shed a tear of sadness and joy for how it was and how we survived.

“I’m proud of where I came from. It made me who I am. I wouldn’t want to be anybody else or have it any other way,” said Mark.

Some of the stories on show in the exhibition have been recorded at workshops run by Tyneside Women’s Health, The Grange Day Centre, Launchpad, and Crisis Skylight Newcastle.

People have the chance to record their own personal stories to be added to The Story Box archive during two free workshops on 12 and 15 May.

Alex Henry added:

“We’ve already heard some fantastic stories but we want to record even more. If you live in Newcastle and you want your story to be a part of the city’s history, come along to one of our workshops and record your own digital story.”

All the stories recorded as part of The Story Box will be screened in a special one-person cinema made out of a red telephone box, which will be popping up at various locations in Newcastle throughout the summer.

The Story Box exhibition is on show at Newcastle City Library from 12 May to 18 May.

The Story Box project is funded by the Newcastle Cultural Investment Fund, a grant programme for independent cultural organisations working in the Newcastle City Council area, run as a partnership between Newcastle City Council and the Community Foundation.

Find out more about The Story Box.

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