16th December 2021 Stories at heart Blog by Helen Willmott, Programme Director at Made With Many Over the last few months, I’ve listened to many accounts of real-life events from local people; from hearing the stories of Black communities in the UK as part of the Black History Month events at Wellingborough African Caribbean Centre, joining a walking tour of Kettering town centre exploring the historic buildings around Market Place to listening to young people’s experiences of knife crime and reminiscences about previous Corby Pole Fairs. I’ve heard a wealth of stories of hope, joy and fun, mixed with some sadness, anger and perseverance. I’ve spoken lots about how real-life stories from local people can help to develop respect, understanding and empathy within our communities. Whilst this is absolutely true and stories can have a powerful effect on people and places, we also shouldn’t underestimate the ability of real-life stories to create great art. Books, films, songs, plays and many more forms of artistic expression based upon real-life experiences can have an added layer of emotion, connection and vulnerability. They can make us think about the world in unexpected ways and challenge our own opinions, all whilst being captivating and even enjoyable. We’re thinking a lot at Made With Many about how this can be part of our work with local communities. We’ve recently started our Wellingborough Stories project, where we’re working with local groups to collect untold stories that will be used as inspiration for new works of art later next year. And in Corby, we’re putting local history at the heart of next year’s Pole Fair, right from the Vikings through to the modern day. We hope you’ll join us, both by sharing your own stories and experiences, and listening to others. And if you’ve got a bit of spare time over the Christmas break, maybe find a film or book based on real-life events to enjoy. Keep in Touch Sign up to the e-newsletter, see What’s On, Get Inspired or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.