Category: sam stone news

what sam has been up to lately

What is a museum?

Tuesday marked the last field trip and penultimate session of the Citizen Curators course. The classroom sessions have been enlightening, and we have touched on the definition of a museum during the last six months. Still, our perceptions were tested thoroughly in this session as the classification of a museum was once again re-addressed.

Our group consisted of a selection of members from the seven different museums involved with the course. Some of these institutions are traditional museums with dusty artefacts, perilous swords and gruesome stuffed animals. But others like the Falmouth Art Gallery and the Clay Works at Wheal Martyn are more niche and don’t fall into the traditional Victorian image of a museum.

‘Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.’ – The Museums Association (MA) definition in 1998

Established at the beginning of the Millenium, Shelterbox, are in their twentieth year of providing emergency aid items and shelter equipment to families cast out of their homes by natural disasters or conflict. The visitor in Truro highlights the need for this invaluable service.

A charity which receives no funding by the state, Shelterbox visitor centre, the location of our visit, ticks many of the boxes as a potential independent museum. It displays the essential objects deployed in the event of a specific emergency and the items needed for communities to recover from unexpected displacement. The curated exhibitions enable visitors to engage, learn and be inspired by the work the organisation carries out. Tick, tick tick!

Shelterbox have collected together artefacts, specimens and content to represent all stages of a disaster for the exhibition. It invites visitors to adopt the role of a packer assembling their signature green boxes for imminent disaster. Or the role of an observer after the worst-case scenario has happened when all is lost or buried. Beautifully shot audiovisual content also documents the success of the project from a grassroots perspective. It also subtly invites visitors to empathise with those who have benefited from the gift of essential tools to enable communities to rebuild. It is an interactive record of our modern world which has cultural and historical importance in educating all generations to the plight of the world’s population. Tick, tick, tick.

In my eyes, the groundbreaking Shelterbox visitor centre ticks many of the classification boxes and deserves recognition as a modern museum.

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Citizens curation – Falmouth Art Gallery

I frequently write about private views, exhibitions and gallery openings around the Southwest on social media and blogs. So I am very familiar with the significant contribution Falmouth Art Gallery make to the community. Inspired by my recent involvement with the Citizens Journalism Network, I decided to enrol on the Citizen Curator work-based training programme.

The programme, provided by Cornwall Museums Partnership in collaboration with seven museums around Cornwall is funded by the Museums Association’s Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

As a writer, it is a fantastic opportunity to have hands-on experience of the historical collections within the museums and highlight their stories. Throughout the six month programme, all the attendees have the chance to visit all the associated museums, attend field trips and events, to uncover the hidden diversity of Cornish society. And translating any new knowledge into a form that will engage and inform their community.

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Citizens Journalism – podcast series

In the first half of 2019, I joined the Citizen Journalism News Network course at Exeter University.

This course was designed to give attendees the confidence and skills to actively engage with the local news networks and spread information within Cornwall. My aim of the course was to gain the skills necessary to create a series of podcasts which would highlight the achievements of an unrepresented group of professional writers throughout the southwest. 

I started this course with no knowledge of how to produce or record a podcast. All I knew about the media was first-hand knowledge from listening to a variety of other podcasts.

One of my hobbies is scriptwriting, so I set out to apply similar writing and structuring techniques to the podcast script. By the end of June, my first dummy version of the Writers of Cornwall podcast for The Writers Collective was complete. Although not perfect, it was a great learning experience, and hopefully, further podcast episodes for the Collective albeit with a better production quality will follow soon.

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Minack theatre – chance of a lifetime

The beginning of June marked the end of a fantastic course ‘Writing for Stage’ with the amazingly talented Jane Pugh – supported by director and performer John Brolly.

This amazing course hosted by The Writers Block at Cornwall College was aimed at new writers, as well as those who had already written plays. So I was among talented company! Although a screenwriter myself and annual reader for the Nick Darke Award, I have never tackled writing a play. So I was intrigued by the difference between writing for the two disciplines.

The course looked at the creativity and craft of writing for the stage and explored theme, story, characters, dialogue, setting and staging.  Each week was a mini-workshop with a group discussion. And when our plays had been suitably developed we gave each other invaluable feedback before we shared our final pieces at The Minack Theatre.

The event on June 8th was amazing. Despite the lousy weather for a few days before, the day was stunning and offered far-reaching views of the Atlantic ocean. With a cluster of friends and relatives for support, we congregated in one of the practice rooms in the bowels of the theatre, eager to hear each other’s play excerpts.

Jane had guided us perfectly to realising our potential and developing a collection of diverse stories. All the plays were very different with amazing characters and flowing believable dialogue. And we were all very grateful for her dedicated input and enthusiasm throughout the eight weeks.

Please click on the MP4 below if you would like to watch the read-through of my play ‘Dealing with it’.

 

 

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A new venture for a new year

March is named after a Roman god, Mars, who the Romans prayed to for help with expanding their empire, so it seems a fitting month to soft launch a project I have been working on for a while.

The Writers Collective went live on social media today. Aimed at writers of all specialisms in the UK and beyond. It has been designed to be an online hub for connecting professional writers with writing services, as well as a directory for businesses to find writers and advertise jobs. Commercially orientated, the website will also provide an arena for writers to share their work,  discover events, courses and jobs.

The Writers Collective Community is hosted from on the Facebook page of the same name and is where all the interaction between writers will happen  – hopefully sparking discussions of subjects which affect all writers from struggles with running a small business, networking opportunities and the isolation of working as a freelancer. All subjects I personally face and have been talking over with my fellow writers in the south-west region.

Wish us luck…

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Banishing the black

At nearly 6ft I’ve never been a girly girl. So booking myself into my favourite local spa for a lash lift and tint was an adventure into new territory for me.

I do love a good spa session,  and I have been to many all over the world. But in the past, I’ve always opted for more practical treatments. Massage, detox scrub and even the odd pedicure or two. Venturing into the world of beauty therapy was just something that had never crossed my mind. So why now?

Well, there is a practical reason for my strange behaviour – winter is here! Which for me means no more outdoor swimming. However, for sanity’s sake I still need my watery escape, so I’ve been forced inside by the rubbish winter weather.

I’m not the only one who swaps brine for chlorine during the long Cornish winter months. As soon it feels like they are pushing the limits of masochism, many of my fellow wild swimmers also retreat to the nearest pool to satisfy their aquatic addiction.

The pleasure of diving into crystal clear waters and defying the effects of gravity are proven to be both physically and mentally therapeutic. Personally, my enjoyment comes from letting my thoughts wander as I push myself to the limits through still waters. And more often than not I surprise myself with some very creative problem-solving.

Anyway, to cut what has now become a long story about mindfulness short. The leisure suite where I swim also has a spa.  And December’s bargain-priced promo was a Lash lift and tint, which was just too tempting to miss. As much as I love swimming, most waterproof mascaras don’t live up to their hype, and I often come out of the pool looking like Alice Cooper. So my creative problem solving came into its own and today’s little lash lift experiment will hopefully banish my scary post swim appearance for once and all –  well for the next three months anyway.

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