Asset Based Storytelling
Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames Libraries
Asset Based Storytelling is an Arts Council England funded project exploring the connection between community building and the act of storytelling and story exchange. The project is working with marginalised groups in the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames including MIND; Refugee Action Kingston; Hestia; and Kingston Action on Homelessness. The aim is to build links across the community groups that the project team and library service work with.
The library service and other groups in the council are working closely with experts from Kingston University who are researching, analysing and reporting on the outcomes of the project to create a toolkit that can be used by others to build communities through storytelling.
The library service benefits from the university’s skills in research and reporting on the project outcomes. The university researchers benefit from access to a broad range of members of the public.
Kingston Libraries are working with storyteller Richard Neville to encourage the most vulnerable residents to build sustainable community connections. Residents with learning disabilities, asylum seekers, older residents and those experiencing mental health problems, are able to come together, share stories, exchange skills and create lasting connections.
Outputs will include books; website; exhibition and possibly other media depending on the interests of the group. The project team will also produce a toolkit for asset based storytelling in the community so that groups can continue or expand the project independently and more communities can benefit.
The project team have produced a book of stories with the members of the Community Library Service (Housebound) and used community transport to bring them for a tea at Hook Centre to launch the book. The contributors are proud to be authors and enjoyed connecting at the event.
The Hestia participants have shared that the project benefits their mental health, while teaching them creative skills which have helped them to grow in confidence in conversing with others.
Staff have supported the sessions and strengthened links with the community groups. The sessions have been instructive to staff about the structure of stories and tools that can be used to prompt their creation. They have also developed their own engagement skills by delivering a public reading of the reminiscence book created as part of the project and through participating in the sessions with Hestia and Mind.
Refugee Action Kingston
Kingston Action on Homelessness