From 28th July, audiences can  join interactive discussions between storytellers, artists, and historians at as part of the Kingdom 1000 project that marks 1,000 years since Britain’s Danish conqueror Canute granted all people living in Britain, rich or poor, the equal right to petition the king.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kingdom 1000 was to involve a series of gatherings throughout the UK. Instead, thanks to the involvement of virtual cultural resource, the World Storytelling Café, the celebrations will continue, and in the most accessible form possible. Starting at 6pm on 28th July, the website will host free weekly sessions followed by panel discussions exploring both the documentary evidence and the folk tales surrounding ‘Canute’s Law’. Ultimately the project – with support from Cambridgeshire Music, Arts Council England, Voluntary Arts UK – is aiming to raise awareness of the historic roots underpinning modern human rights.

Audiences will also be encouraged to produce their own creative works to celebrate the millennial. Videos, images, music and written work can all be submitted via kingdom1000.com. The project’s committee hope to curate the public’s submissions for a final festival event being planned for June 2021.

Historian, storyteller and project coordinator Chip Colquhoun recently journeyed to York Minster to see the oldest surviving copy of Canute’s Law, accompanied by medieval historians MJ Trow and Dr Charles Insley.

Chip Colquhoun said, “The story of human rights is everyone’s story, so this is a chance for communities to come together and celebrate all that brings us together. It’s a very timely millennial, reminding us that humanity has long been disposed to bettering itself, and I think that’s a positive thought for today’s troublesome times.”

But the celebrations need not be restricted to remembering early medieval England.
Dr Charles Insley said, “Canute’s legislation is the model that’s used post-1066 to set up the Common Law, which is now the most widely used legal system in the world. This was a king of the English, who was himself half-Danish and half-Polish, appealing to English people of many different heritages.”

Viewers will be able to watch the broadcasts live or catch up after the event via www.worldstorytellingcafe.com . Budding historians can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #Kingdom1000. 

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