Tag Archive: Heritage Open Days


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Diana’s Hillfort activities and exhibition of art at Oswestry Library – the kind of thing we’re planning to repeat later this year for Heritage Open Days.

A great meeting yesterday! There was a lot of creative thinking in the air, and it feels like we all came away not just inspired and enthusiastic, but with some solid ideas for upcoming projects and exhibitions. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are notes on the meeting: 

After a quick round of introductions to make sure the new members got to know everyone, we started with a discussion of exhibitions and other events. Here is a complete calendar of upcoming events from now through October. The first exhibition on that list is:

Oswestry Nature Festival

Dates: July 6th – August 28th

Type of Event: This is an Oswestry-wide collection of events and exhibitions under the above banner. We have been offered some space for an exhibition in the Willow.

Co-ordinators: Debbie – She is putting together a group application for the exhibition, but will be circulating it to everyone in the next week or so for them to add details of work they would like to submit.

Timetable: Deadline for taking artwork to the Willow Gallery June 29th

Notes: Although this isn’t our event, it feels like a good opportunity to forge creative links between the hillfort and natural/earth/green art happening elsewhere.

Next, we had our inaugural “expert knowledge” talk. The idea of these talks is to have someone with some expert or inside knowledge on the hillfort give a short 15-20 minute creative talk on some aspect of the hillfort. For this inaugural talk, John told the story not of the “hillfort” – but “The Hill“; the 358 million-year-long story of Old Oswestry as a place, of which The Hill as a human place – a “hillfort” – is only a part. Here are John’s notes in case people find them useful.

Afterwards, the idea of the hillfort as a “hill” prompted all sorts of discussion, both about the way this idea allows one to better understand Old Oswestry as a landscape place, and as a place with a history that stretches back (and forward!) into Deep Time. It also makes it easier to separate out “The Hill” from the erroneous martial implications of the term “hillfort”, and easier to look specifically at the geological and natural information about the place and then, in a different way, at the archaeological and historical information about the place. We talked for a long, long time about the way the hill would have looked at certain points in time, its relationship to the Coppie, how geology, topography and history affect present-day flora and fauna – indeed, about the temporal and spatial context of the hill and the hillfort that often gets overlooked as we focus on “the monument” itself.

The upshot of all this wide-ranging discussion was two-fold:

  • First, we all came away thinking more about “the hillfort” as being just one aspect of “The Hill” that is Old Oswestry and how this would impact on our own work; some interesting ideas for making work that both explores context and makes links.
  • Second, these thoughts coalesced into plans to develop a range of activities that we could lead at Oswestry Library for our contribution to Heritage Open Day: activities that would look at “The Different Ages” of Old Oswestry, and focus on bringing together geology, stratigraphy, archaeology and history.

Along the way, of course, our discussion veered off into a hundred little byways and diversions: from Dorothy’s “flatbacks” on the theme of “Save Our Setting”, to the historical weaving activities Dzintra will also be doing at the library during Heritage Open Days, to John’s illustrations looking not back, but forward, to the “future history” of Old Oswestry, to Diana’s waste plastic art, Pam’s woodland management and Rob’s fauvist designs on the hillfort (possibly soon to get a digital upgrade?). Talk of Iron Age re-enactment as another focus for community art projects prompted Debbie to mention an upcoming Textile Stories Study Day at the Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Sat. May 11th – more information via this link:  http://dwtextilestories.blogspot.co.uk/ And Dorothy and Pam’s mention of a Radio 4 programme about the value of art as an environmental recording tool (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004sdb) prompted discussion of our work as a form of social archive of changing conditions and attitudes towards Old Oswestry – something we’ll work on more in coming months.

So, as you can see, a highly creative meeting, filled not just with ideas, but a goodly array of plans for onward projects, both individual and collective. Our next meeting is scheduled for 11am on Wednesday, June 19th at the Oswestry Library meeting room again. During the meeting we might get an opportunity to trial some of the proposed Heritage Open Days activities various of us will have been developing. See you then!

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Oswestry Heritage Day – new art opportunities!

366 teeshirts installation at Hermon Chapel, Oswestry. The next exhibition here could be yours!

So many art-related things happening in Oswestry it’s hard to keep track. And now, even more art opportunities!

Spent this morning and afternoon going around Oswestry to some of the Heritage Open Day venues.

Has anyone else ever been in the Hermon Chapel up by the Castlefields carpark? It’s a fantastic old nineteenth-century chapel, full of unusual architecture. Neil Phillips was exhibiting all the tee-shirts (so far) from his 366 Teeshirts Project. The organisers of the Chapel are keen to have the placed used as an arts venue. They would be interested to hear from anyone interested in using the space for an exhibition – whether 2D, 3D, installation or performance. You can get in touch with them via the Oswestry Museum – or us here on the blog.

There’s also a great opportunity coming in November at Underhill Farm in Llanymynech. Three years ago, Underhill Farm hosted an art exhibition weekend which attracted hundreds of visitors and – perhaps more importantly – sold loads of work. This year, the Farm is hosting another exhibition over two weekends in November: Nov. 17-18 and Nov. 24-25. The farm has several indoor spaces that can be used, and a lot of outdoor space as well. Steve and Irene are also inviting artists to hold “taster” workshops and classes in the week between the two weekends. They’ve had lots of success at the Farm with their workshops – there were spinning, pottery and woodworking demonstrations there today. Later this month, there’ll be a meeting at the Farm for anyone interested in the exhibition event to discuss details, etc. Drop us a line here at the blog if you’d like to know more and we can pass on contact info for the Farm.

Finally, just a note to congratulate Kinokulture and Barry Edwards [The Griffon, Albion Hill, Oswestry] for their atmospheric showing of Bill Morrison’s film “Decasia” in the Llanymynech Limekiln (the venue where we put on Freja’s “Limelight” installation last year). Oswestry musician Barry Edwards performed an astonishing live soundtrack to the film screening – really great to see other artists thinking of innovative ways to use the Limekilns.

So, tons happening in Oswestry this weekend – and tons of new opportunities for all of us as well. Let’s make the most of them!

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