The Story 2011 – First Speakers announced!

Tickets for the first tranche of tickets for The Story 2011 go on sale here at noon on Monday 13th Sept (tomorrow!) so we’d better mention a few speakers to whet your appetite. I’ve been asking a wide range of people, including many personal heroes, so hopefully they’ll all say yes, and we’ll have as stunning a line-up as last year. Here’s the first three to get you going:

Cornelia Parker is one of the UK’s leading sculptors, working with familiar objects that she transforms through spectacular processes. Her past work has included silver tableware flattened by a steam-roller, a garden shed and all its contents exploded by the British Army, and thousands of coins crushed by a train and suspended in the shape of two human figures. More recently, her work has explored the way that famous people’s lives transform the objects around them, making new works from fragments of Sigmund Freud’s couch, or the marginalia of the Bronte Sister’s journals. Through all her work, she opens up seemingly mundane objects to show the multitude of potential stories they contain. Nominated for the Turner Prize in 1997, Cornelia’s work has a narrative thread and coherence that makes each work relate to each other, creating an ongoing exploration of life, objects, and the stories that happen between them.

Phil Gyford is one of the most interesting builders and makers on the web. As well as being a gun-for-hire, bringing his elegant and simple design skills to projects for everyone from mySociety to Jamie Oliver, he somehow finds the time to run a number of epic personal projects that change the way people think about the web. Recently he has reimagined how The Guardian could appear online, but at The Story he will talk about Pepys’ Diary, an astonishing undertaking that started at the beginning of 2003, and will eventually publish every single entry in Samuel Pepys 17th century diary as a blog. Started as a simple attempt to get around to reading the diaries, Pepys Diary has become the most comprehensive annotated resource on Samuel Pepys on the web, with thousands of annotations, an Encyclopedia explaining the people and places mentioned in the diaries, and more recently, a Twitter feed. At The Story, Phil will talk through what he’s learned about life in 17th Century, creating collaborative history, and how a long-dead civil servant ended up being a social media hit.

Martin Parr needs no introduction. Probably the UK’s most famous photographer, his seemingly artless snapshots of everyday life illustrate the details and gestures that make up global culture, whilst simultaneously making them seem uncanny and alien. In glaring, garish colour, his photos of british food, bored couples, Japanese commuters or tourists at famous landmarks are, to use his own phrase, “like a soap opera waiting for the right cast to fall into place”. As well as his photography, he is a notorious collector of everything from Photobooks to Saddam Hussein watches, collecting ephemera with the same compulsion and comprehensiveness as his own images. In October 2010, Martin curated the Brighton Photo Biennale, presenting a range of new artists from around the world that bring his own narrative compulsion to their photography.

So, that’s the first three speakers for you. Hope you like them. More to follow soon…