She has been writer-in-residence at venues as varied as the Tate Modern art gallery, the London Underground and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
Now, author Sarah Butler’s latest project takes her to Selby, where she’ll help capture what makes the borough special.
Fascinated by the relationships between stories, places and communities, Sarah’s work explores identity, belonging, landscape and home.
Meet Selby Abbey’s new artist-in-residence, Serena Partridge – who specializes in…
Her project, My Town, will see Sarah collect stories about Selby and share them with others, creating a rich image of the town’s historic market square, in particular.
Sarah, who has had three novels published by Picador in the UK, will have a stand at Selby Market in July and August and people are invited to tell her about their memories of Selby.
“It’s always a privilege to work on projects like Selby Stories – listening to people talk about their city and their relationship to it,” she says.
“I am truly delighted to know Selby through the stories of its people, and to share those stories on the project blog and later through temporary installations in Selby itself.”
Selby Stories will run until the end of 2023 and will include artist residencies, singing and songwriting, screenings, music and performances, celebrating what makes Selby unique.
The program began with artist-in-residence Serena Partridge. Yorkshire textile artist Serena creates tiny embroideries to adorn the hidden nooks and crannies of 900-year-old Selby Abbey.
She spent the past winter drawing inspiration from nearly a thousand years of history, craftsmanship and stories that surround the Abbey and the generations of people who have worked, volunteered, revered and visited.
Selby Stories is the cultural program of the Selby High Street Heritage Action Zone, part of a government funded scheme run by Historic England, which aims to breathe new life into local shopping streets by regenerating historic buildings and engaging communities in artistic and cultural projects.
Selby is one of more than 60 main streets in the country to receive a share of the funding, with additional funds coming from Selby District Council.
Councilor Tim Grogan, senior executive member for health and culture at the council, said: ‘I know there will be loads of stories that local residents can contribute to this project.
“Capturing these memories is a great way to preserve this part of our history for posterity. I hope residents will take this opportunity to share their stories with Sarah and at the same time find out more about all the activities planned as part of Selby Stories.
On August 15 and 22, you’ll have the chance to meet Serena, as she sews pieces live at Selby Abbey between 10am and 1pm.
Other events this summer include a wooden frame that will be moved around town to capture Selby’s best views, with local residents having the chance to nominate their favorite spots.
Sarah will be at her stand at Selby Market on July 11-25 and August 15 (9am-1pm) and at Selby Farmer’s Market on August 20, 10am-1pm. Stories can also be submitted directly to Sarah via her blog at selbymytown.wordpress.com