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'Asset Based Storytelling in Kingston' was a storytelling project that took place in Kingston between October 2021 and November 2022.


It was led by Kingston Libraries, storyteller Richard Neville and Kingston University. We delivered storytelling and creative writing workshops, created a toolkit, and published a series of books.

We worked in partnership with:


  • Mencap Kingston

  • Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness

  • Refugee Action Kingston

  • Voices of Hope

  • Mind in Kingston

  • Kingston Hestia

  • Balance


Storytelling can happen anywhere!

During this project, sessions took place in:


  • Libraries: Kingston, Hook and Surbiton Libraries

  • Community centres: The Searchlight Centre, Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingsgate

  • Churches: St John's, Surbiton

  • Streets: a wall outside St Peter's, Norbiton

  • Gardens: Kingston Quaker Centre Garden and Fairfield Park

  • Online: Zoom sessions and a project website

  • Living Rooms: The Joel Centre

Stories can be created in many ways!

In this project we created stories from:

  • A bag of practical ideas and techniques

  • Music and pictures

  • Conversation and discussion

  • Walking in nature

  • Games and puppets

Stories can take many different forms!

Life stories

During this project we created:


Nature stories

Fantasy stories

Fairy tales and folk tales


Diary entries




Storytelling brings many benefits!


Some of the benefits of this project were :


  • A positive experience of being creative

  • Finding a voice

  • Expressing an identity

  • Learning about others

  • Gaining self knowledge

  • New skills in writing and speaking

  • An experience of belonging to a group

What were the results of the project for Kingston Libraries and our partners?

  • Kingston Libraries became a creative hub for new writing and community partnerships

  • Kingston University evaluated the project and created a toolkit of methods and ideas for future use

  • Six books were created entirely from the creative work of local people Organisations and individuals came together to learn from each other and develop new skills

Now read on for samples of work from each of our six project books...

What The Hell are We Going to Call This? or He Who Dares, Writes

What The Hell are We Going to Call This? or He Who Dares, Writes

Poems, stories and thoughts from the Joel Project

The Sky Has No Borders

The Sky Has No Borders

Creative writing from members of Refugee Action Kingston

The Big Book of Questions

The Big Book of Questions

A drawing and storytelling book with Kingston Mencap

The Big Book of Superheroes

The Big Book of Superheroes

with Mencap Kingston

With All the Power in My Soul

With All the Power in My Soul

Writing from the Voices of Hope Creative Writing Group

The Big Adventure

The Big Adventure

A drawing and storytelling book with Mencap Kingston

Final words

"I really enjoyed the sessions. It helped me to get my brain moving and working, it gave me resilience for the rest of the day. Even later in the day if I started to feel that my mental ill health was beginning to press down on me, I knew that I could create and that my brain can produce these different ideas and make these connections between the different pictures. That was extremely encouraging for me to know about myself. The sessions provided me with hope and encouragement. I'm very grateful for that"

"Can I just take this moment to say how wonderful and inspirational your creative writing methodology is. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process and the enthusiasm and positivity that you brought to the group. It was a contagion, that ran wild throughout the ladies. We literally were bursting out with creative ideas and thoughts in our writing. Thank you for being such an understanding and thoughtful guide for this to unfold in each of us.


As a girl at secondary school with dyslexia I was put into a remedial class as a lazy pupil who had no hope of ever being entitled to show I had ideas and thoughts that could be seen as creative.


This is what you have gifted to the ladies in your creative writing workshop, the opportunity and belief that they all have the ability to tap into their own ideas and make something from nothing into an amazing piece of creative writing.


I’m lucky though as I went on to study at university as a mature student. With understanding and a little help, it’s amazing what you can achieve. "


Here at Kingston, we are committed to enabling the community to find solutions and support each other. The aim of this new project is to empower communities who might not regularly access cultural events to work together, meet new people, exchange ideas and create events. Stories help people relate to each other and share things in an authentic way that they might not have shared otherwise. 


“This grant will help us carry on the work started through ‘Reimagining Kingston Libraries’, the transformational review aimed at putting our libraries at the heart of the community, and supporting our residents the best we can both now and in the future.

— Cllr Rebekah Moll, Portfolio Holder for Culture at Kingston Council - November 2021

Stories are everything – they tell us who we are and where we come from; they help us imagine the unimaginable, inspire the next generation, connect with each other, accept the challenges thrown at us, find our voice and grow. Telling stories together, to and with each other, is the basis of community. Kingston University will be evaluating the project and co-creating a toolkit of methods for community storytelling, which will hopefully assist people to tell more stories!

— Professor Maria Chatzichristodoulou, Associate Dean Research, Business & Innovation at Kingston School of Art said

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