Unsung Stories

Made possible by support from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Unsung Stories was a 3 year arts-based strand of Heritage Open Days, focusing on aspects of heritage that have been overlooked or pushed to the sidelines. We commissioned artists to work with local organisers, bringing to life overlooked stories - both individual and collective.

2019 - 'Dare to Dream' 2019 - 'Dare to Dream'

Festival Theme: People Power

Unsung Stories artist: Sarah Corbett, Craftivist Collective

'Yesterday’s dreams shape today’s reality. What future are you dreaming of?'

In our 25th anniversary year we focused on stories of 'People Power'. Throughout England’s history, real change has come from those who dared to dream and thought bigger than the problems they faced. We were delighted to work with award winning activist and founder of the Craftivist Collective, Sarah Corbett, to explore the stories of these dreamers and ask what we can do to keep moving things forward. 25 craftivism workshops were run over the festival, encouraged by Sarah's specially created toolkit and training sessions.

Embroidered fabric cloud cupped in two hands against a blue background.

2018 - 'put her forward' 2018 - 'put her forward'

Festival Theme: Extraordinary Women

Unsung Stories artist: non zero one

In a year that marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, and 90 years since the Equal Franchise Women's Suffrage Act, we spotlighted women's history. Interactive theatre-makers, non zero one, worked with organisers across England to highlight the stories of Extraordinary Women today. From over 200 nominations, 25 women who have positively impacted their communities were chosen to have statuettes created from 3D scans, unveiled at places of local significance to them during the festival. Some of these have since been part of special displays at sites such as Manchester Central Library, and the Queer Britain museum in London.

Three white plinths with a microphone against different backgrounds.

2017 - Unsung Stories (LGBTQ+ history) 2017 - Unsung Stories (LGBTQ+ history)

The 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act inspired our inaugural arts commission. This was split between four artists to explore four tragic, beautiful and fascinating personal histories from the LGBTQ+ community.

The four commissions
Unsung Stories logo with rainbow bunting flying from a pink H.