Feature Post on the Bird Song StoryCubes

This weeks feature post is based upon Melissa Bliss’s ‘Bird Song’ set of StoryCubes, which she used as an invitation. Read the e-mail interview I had with her below.

RPWhat inspired you to use a StoryCube as the invitation leaflet?

MB: I chose to make a storycube for several reasons. My exhibition was of a sound piece made with people on Portland in Dorset imitating birdsong. I wanted people to have something to take away to remind them of the installation and encourage them to look out for and listen to the fantastic birdlife on Portland. I also wanted people to be not just passive listeners but to take part. So I set up tables with blank postcards, pencils and crayons for drawing, bird and wildlife books for people to read and double-sided storycubes for people to make. And finally I wanted a memorable invitation card during a festival with many events happening at the same time.

RP: How did people respond to this alternative type of invitation? How did they use it?

MB: People found the storycubes novel and playful. On one side were silhouettes of birds featured in the installation with a transliteration of their call – such as “kee-arrrk kee-arrk” for peregrine falcons. On the other was a map of Portland marked with places where these birds were heard. So over the two sides there were photographs, images, text, a map and credits.

RP: Was there any interest surrounding the cubes at your exhibition?

MB: Yes there was a lot of interest. People had not seen them before though they reminded them of things from their childhood. And sitting down at the table to make up a storycube encouraged people into conversation.

RP: Were there any interesting stories that came up?

MB: People often were surprised they could take them for free. And one afternoon a group of children stacked lots of the storycubes to make pyramids and structures – which kept falling over in the (powerful) winds that blow over Chiswell.

RP: Would you use the StoryCubes again? For the same or other purposes?

MB: Yes I would definitely use storycubes again – If they were right for the project. They are memorable, flexible and both reflect and encourage participation.

I really like the strong positive reaction the StoryCubes got, from being a conversations starter, the surprise factor ‘could take them for free’ as well as encouraging children to play with them.

Come back to read more featured posts coming soon.

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