Story contributors: Jean Bentley, Jimmy Browne, Vera Button, Rob Cullen, Ann Davies, Carrie Francis, Gerhard Kress, Bill Monington, and Lisa Powell
Ystrad Stories is a community storytelling project connecting the paintings of local artist Ernest Zobole with the lives and experiences of the Rhondda Valley community. Working with residents of the Rhondda, and the village of Ystrad in particular, the project used the works of Zobole to prompt memories and experiences of the valley and to explore storytelling as a response.
The Ystrad Stories Project was developed by Sharon Magill while a student of the University of South Wales MA Arts Practice (Fine Arts) course. Sharon has now graduated with her MA, and continues to take the project activities out into the community.
The 9 contributors wrote 17 short stories revealing memories both local and global, from skipping home with the grandchildren after school to travelling with the circus in South Africa. Some stories recall long-forgotten family histories while others explore the landscape of the valley or the impact of the coal industry.
The book also carries a ‘Story Trail’, which takes the reader through a real map route that places the selected paintings of Ernest Zobole in the landscape that inspired him. The paintings are placed along the route either where the image depicts the scene or has a visual link to the place.