Open Weekend – Registrations Open Soon.

Article contents: Time Line for Registrations New dates and theme for 2023 Open Weekend 2022 successes / What we did in 2022 / What is the Open Weekend? / How will it work? / What kinds of events or activities can be included? / What are the benefits of taking part in Open Weekend? / How can I/my organisation get involved? / Where did this idea come from?

Open Weekend 2023 – submissions and micro grant applications open 11 April – 22 May!

We are going to publish more information and details around the application for Open Weekend 2023 here soon. To give everyone an idea of the time line here are the

Key dates:

  • Open Weekend submission opens, micro grant applications open– 11 April 2023
  • Deadline for event and activity submissions and micro grant application – 22 May 2023
  • Deadline for all What’s On information and images – 5 June 2023
  • Open Weekend Event dates Thu 27th – Sun 30th July 2023.

Open Weekend 2023 – Be inspired and get involved!

After previously announcing the dates – Thu 27th – Sun 30th July 2023 – and the theme – One World – we wanted to follow up with more information on timeline for the registration and give some inspiration why you should think about getting involved.

In case you are not sure about getting involved for the first time or about taking part again, here are some feedback voices and figures from our success in 2022:

we had 43 listings/events with 54 individual activities. We had 4,874 people attending across those 54 activities. Activities happened all over the county and people from nearly all areas of Buckinghamshire attended. With the help of Buckinghamshire’s creatives, community organisations and cultural institutions, we hope to exceed these figures for 2023!

We hope the following shines a light on how the organisers felt they benefitted from being involved and motivates you to either take part again or get involved for the first time. The feedback from our organisers was overall very positive and here are some voices:

It felt good to be part of a larger event which focused on arts and culture locally. There was a momentum which you don’t usually get when working alone. The financial and marketing support provided by Bucks Culture also made it easier to take part and gave me confidence in delivering a successful event.

“It’s good to see an example of a wider umbrella organisation directing awareness and footfall to existing venues through its network of contacts / online audience.”

“Having the event (and therefore our venue) included in a central directory of events (on Visit Bucks) helped to publicise us as part of the wider cultural offer on Bucks. Communications in the run-up to the event very clear. The micro-grant allowed us to enhance our offer.”

We will communicate more details on when the registrations open in due course, but we envisage to start the online registration process in early April and close registrations in late May.

Following what we did in the past two years, we will be running a micro grants scheme. More details on how to apply and the funding criteria will follow in due course. For news and updates keep an eye out here.

Theme for 2023: One World

One World can be interpreted in different ways. It links to local or global sustainability, climate change, climate justice on one hand. Activities referring to this strand can centre around recycling as well as creating projects to raise awareness of climate crisis, sustainability and environmental topics.

On the other hand, One World, can incorporate ideas of inclusivity, connecting with communities in Buckinghamshire or abroad, diversity and access. These could be projects that link and invite communities in the county to engage with creative and cultural activities or champion diversity, representation and access. On all of these levels, in the end, we all share this One World. As always with the theme for Open Weekend, you can be as creative as you like and surprise us with the ideas that come up.

Buckinghamshire Open Weekend 28th – 31st July 2022– a success all round!

This second ‘Open Weekend’ in Buckinghamshire, took place over four days from 28 -31 July and showcased the breadth of creative and cultural activities across the county. The theme, ‘trees and green’, was inspired by the Platinum Jubilee 2022 ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ project. It led to creative projects, workshops and performances which encouraged creative engagement with nature, trees, green spaces, landscape, and their heritage, combining cultural activities with being outside and the potential to benefit participants health and wellbeing.

The Buckinghamshire Culture team managed to sample some of the events and shares some of their impressions below.

artist Harsha Basu and the clients of Missenden Walled Garden during their workshop painting with natural colours

Kicking off the activities on Thursday morning at Missenden Walled Garden, artist Harsha Basu’s ‘Tree of Life – Community Art Project’ involved making paints from natural materials and plants and creating a community art work that will adorn the club room at the garden.

The garden at Milton’s Cottage was the beautiful backdrop for artist Frog Morris’ ‘Tree of Knowledge’ workshop, engage visitors in making their own book inspired by the poet Milton’s work and ideas.

handmade books hanging off a tree in the garden of Milton's Cottage
two children and a mother working led by the artist during the pottery workshop

‘Tree Pottery’ at the Chiltern Open Air Museum meant working with clay, and resulted in some intricately ornate 3-D works, using leaves as mould or working free hand.

Wycombe Arts Centre became host to two open weekend events on Friday: the dance group Dew Dances created a beautiful performance specifically for Open Weekend, inspired by trees and childhood memories. You can now watch the video here.

Dew Dances during their performance
workshop participant painting her 'stick sculpture'

Whilst Artformed‘s put on the ‘Journey Stick Sculpture Workshop’ where young participants got creative stripping bark from branches to create a blank canvas to paint on, creating small but perfectly formed individual creative stick sculptures.

audience listening to the performance of the 'Sing for the Queen' song at the Stadium Approach Stoke Manderville

Friday also saw the performance of the ‘Sing for the Queen’ project, led by the National Paralympics Heritage Trust. As part of an existing project collaborating with a local theatre group for adults with additional needs, ‘I Have a Voice Too’, and professional musician and Paralympian Robin Surgeoner, the adults in the group had written a song for the Queen’s Jubilee. For the Open Weekend project, they continued to work with the Musical Director on a workshop with a local school which supports children taught the song to them and with a public performance at the end of the project:
This took place at the Stadium Approach, Stoke Mandeville, the tree lined green space where the first Stoke Mandeville Games took place in 1948. Their audience included the GB Handball Team, Stoke Mandeville Holiday Club, Activ8, residents and staff from Bartletts Residential Home and families who live close by. You can watch the video of the performance here.

The artist led workshop ‘Let’s Goa Green’ at Wycombe Youth Space organised by FEEDBACK on Saturday morning engaged all ages in exploring the culture of Goa; creating natural colours, painting inspired by the culture of the region and in the end cooking and eating together. A complete and inspiring experience in many ways.

Marlow Museum put on a programme under the appropriate title ‘In the Company of the Green Man’. The Audience of regular museum visitors as well as Saturday afternoon shoppers was enjoying inspired by the Marlow Ukulele Orchestra or blown away by the witty words of the custom made ‘Ode to Trees’ rap by long time Marlow resident Johnathan Slack. As a founding member of ReLeaf Marlow, a Transition Town Marlow community tree planting group and also a member of the Marlow Writers’ Group s and originator of the Marlow Literary Festival his original performance combined and reflected these two passions perfectly. You can enjoy the ‘Ode to Trees’ as a document:

A Plant sales for charity and tree themed biscuits completed the fun filled afternoon that made everyone aware of the offers of the museum and the wider creative community in Marlow.

The crowds at Marlow Museum

Sunday afternoon saw the last performance of ‘Dalia’ at Garsington Opera. The team had made prices accessible throughout all 3 performances particularly for Open Weekend visitors. The community opera centring around a Syrian refugee girl finding her calling in cricket, involved school children and a wide range of members of the community in roles of the chorus – all beautifully scripted and sung in the amazing environment of the Wormsley Estate.

This is of course only a small snapshot of some of the activities the team were able to see for themselves and there was a much larger variety of brilliant events and activities happening.

For everyone who wants to see a list of all events, we have a short programme version available for download here:

Organised by Buckinghamshire Culture with the support of Buckinghamshire Council and Visit Buckinghamshire, it was a celebration of all things creative and cultural that Buckinghamshire has to offer. This project is supported through funding from Buckinghamshire Council and the Rothschild Foundation.

What we did in 2022

In preparation for Open Weekend, we had offered the following workshops and info sessions to our organisers in order to help the the promotion and evaluation of the events:

Open Weekend – Evaluation Workshop (online)  – Wed 13th July 11-12.30pm

Speaker Lisa Davenport from Arts & Heritage Consultancy Bright Culture shared best practice on how to evaluate your projects and activities in this 1.5 hour online Zoom session. The workshop was informal and engaging and aim to give participants a confidence boost in evaluating their projects. The workshop was aiming at developing participants understanding of evaluation and how embedding good data collection practice across their organisation can enhance and support their work. It targeted those who are new to evaluation and provide advice and tools for those with limited resource and capacity.
Bright Culture: Arts & Heritage, People & Places, Stories & Spaces 

29th JuneOpen Weekend Marketing – Online Info Session

We ran a marketing information session on Wednesday 29th June, 3-5pm for organisers of Open Weekend events/activities.

Megan Williams, Campaigns & Marketing Officer Buckinghamshire Council held an online info session to share best practice on how to market Open Weekend activities and maximise local marketing/promotion activities. The session ended with a Q&A to answer specific questions on how to promote the Open Weekend events successfully.

Open Weekend –2022 submissions opened 25th April!

It is the second time the Open Weekend is taking place and this year it will happen over four days, from 28th-31st July. Organised by Buckinghamshire Culture with the support of Buckinghamshire Council and the Rothschild Foundation, it is an opportunity to showcase the range and breadth of creative events, activities and initiatives taking place in Buckinghamshire. The applications for the micro-grants are now open. We have a limit number of grants that can go towards the events and activities.

Submissions for events/activities were open until the deadline on 1st June. The registrations have now closed.

Is your activity/event eligible for a micro grant?

  • Activity is taking place in Buckinghamshire
  • Activity will be delivered during 28th– 31st July as part of Open Weekend
  • Not-for-profit organisations who want to pay an artist/creative/freelancer to deliver a creative or cultural activity that meets the ‘trees and green’ theme
  • Artists, creatives or freelancers registered as sole traders or businesses delivering an activity for Open Weekend
  • You can apply for grants of up to £250

Applications for the micro-grants had to be submitted by 1st June. The applications are now closed.

Key dates:

  • Open Weekend event and activity submission opens – 25 April 2022
  • Deadline for event and activity submissions – 1 June 2022
  • Deadline for all What’s On information and images – 12 June 2022

All forms and information will be published here in due course.

2022 Theme:

The theme for Open Weekend 2022 is ‘trees and green’ inspired by all the celebratory work and activity taking place for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. To be part of Open Weekend this year, you will need to come up with a creative or cultural activity that is linked to ‘trees and green’.

You might take inspiration from:

  • A local tree, wood, park or garden – telling stories, delivering creative workshops, outdoor performance, or transforming spaces
  • Stories about trees – encouraging people to think about our landscape heritage, exploring folk tales, sharing stories and memories linked to trees
  • The environment and green agenda – encouraging people to think about re-use, recycling and sustainability
  • The colour green itself – monochrome painting workshops, nature inspired creativity, green objects from collections to base activities around.

What kinds of events or activities can be included?

Face to face « In person « Outdoors « Walks « Trails « Tours « Town Centre or High Street activity « Performances « Music « Online « Live streamed « Recorded « via Social Media « Free « Nominal charge.

The only criteria are that your event must:

  1. Take place in Buckinghamshire (or online but delivered by a group or organisation based in Buckinghamshire)
  2. Include activity that is creative or cultural (including: arts, crafts, heritage, music, performance, dance, cooking, baking, writing, spoken word and poetry)
  3. Align to the theme.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information and frequently asked questions, please download the PDF document here:

How will it work?

We will ask interested organisations, groups or individuals to register their event or activity with us, outlining when it will take place and how people take part.  We will compile a programme that contains all of the events and promote/market this through our combined networks and via social media.

We will provide marketing collateral to show each event is part of the Open Weekend.  We will provide a communication toolkit to make it as easy as possible to promote your event and contribute to the cross-promotion of the Open Weekend.

We will ask you to do some light-touch evaluation and feedback numbers of attendees and other data directly to us so that we can collate the overall engagement and impact of the event. 

What is the Open Weekend?

The first ever Open Weekend for Buckinghamshire took place over a long weekend – 22nd-25th July 2021 (in celebration of Buckinghamshire Day). Open Weekend is back for 2022, taking place 28th-31st July.

Open Weekend is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the range and breadth of creativity and culture taking place in Buckinghamshire. 

In 2022, Open Weekend will have theme of ‘green and trees’ – sharing, collecting and celebrating stories of our landscape and green spaces, and inspiring fun creative activity. 

The Theme for Open Weekend 2023 is ‘One World’ – reflecting both the environmental, sustainability aspect as well as inclusivity and connecting with communities in Buckinghamshire and around the world.

Open Weekend 2021

Headline statistics from 2021:

  • 73 events
  • 51 organisations running events
  • Over 3500 attendances across the 4 days

Overall contributors reported that:

  • They valued being part of a larger initiative
  • Open Weekend allowed them to try something new/different
  • It was good to be part of a county-wide initiative – something bigger than themselves
  • They felt the model was flexible and overall liked the theme of stories
  • Branding, collateral and joint publicity well-received.

What are the benefits of taking part in Open Weekend?

This county-wide initiative will be a celebration of stories and creativity which aims to help you to re-engage with audiences, visitors and customers in the aftermath of lockdown.  As the town centres, high streets, shops, cafes and cultural venues re-open, we want to help you to encourage people back to public spaces and cultural venues. 

We aim to help you to increase footfall and engagement and promote creativity and culture and the benefits it brings for our residents.  By taking part in this co-ordinated event, you will both contribute to, and benefit from, a critical mass of activity and promotion across the county.

Umbrella marketing will include:

Programme of events « Open Weekend web page « Cross-promotion from others taking part « Social media via Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Culture channels and supported by participating organisations  « Use of the Open Weekend logo and brand to promote your event and show you are part of the wider initiative « Press releases for Open Weekend to raise awareness « Communications toolkit « Marketing collateral to help promote and identify your event, such as: posters, stickers, balloons…

How can I/my organisation get involved?

Contribute an event or activity to the Open Weekend programme – this could be:

  • An event you are already running that meets the theme.
  • An event you have adapted to meet the theme.
  • An event you have developed and put together specifically for the Open Weekend.

Where did this idea come from?

This idea has come out of discussions about the Buckinghamshire Cultural Strategy, and how we can make creativity and culture in the county more accessible to more people.  We have lots of inspirational cultural organisations running fantastic activities, but we know that not everyone feels comfortable going into them and we want to change that by encouraging people to drop in and have a go.  We want to celebrate the range of creative activities that happen here – showing off what our residents make, bake, create, grow and produce.  So, if you can team up and put on an event, talk, walk etc you can take part too. 

Please note that Buckinghamshire Culture is not endorsing activities included in the Open Weekend programme and each event organiser is responsible for the smooth running of their event.  Buckinghamshire Culture is taking the lead on co-ordinating and promotion activity in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council.