THE world’s first listening gallery in a phone box will soon be unveiled in Settle.

Arts and heritage charity Settle Stories have adopted a BT phone box and taken on the challenge of repurposing it into the world’s first listening gallery in a phone box.

Settle Stories recognise that red phone boxes are part of Britain’s heritage. However, as the world moves on and becomes increasingly digital many people wonder what will become of them.

In a bid to stop these British landmarks from disappearing, BT have offered community groups and charities across the UK the chance to repurpose the boxes and adopt them for just £1.

Settle Stories’ Listening Gallery will invite visitors to step inside the box. From there they can choose a story to listen to from a menu, pick up the phone and dial the number of a story they wish to listen to.

A spokesman for Settle Stories says that the candlestick style phone will be deceiving. Although the phone looks vintage, it is installed with a computer allowing it to store story content.

Visitors may just be walking past and will hear the phone ring, inviting them to step inside and take a few minutes out of the hustle and bustle of modern life and enjoy a good tale or two.

The old K6 BT phone box is undergoing extensive renovations to return it to its former glory.

This work has been made possible by funding from a Sharing Our Heritage grant from Heritage Lottery Fund.

The first exhibition in the listening gallery will be My Favourite Doll.

This exhibition, curated by Settle Stories, will see volunteer Story Collectors interviewing people from different walks of life about their favourite doll or teddy.

These interviews will be a catalyst for further conversation about people’s lives and uncover fascinating conversations that document social history.

Sita Brand, director of Settle Stories, said: “The Listening Gallery is the first of its type. We’re repurposing an iconic British landmark and filling it with fascinating stories. I’m excited about the possibilities that changing exhibitions offer. I can’t wait to put audio exhibitions exploring local people’s stories and also exploring the possibilities of working with communities further afield.”

The Listening Gallery will launch and be unveiled at the 2018 Settle Stories Festival, which runs from Friday, April 6, to Sunday, April 8, and will see over 70 events take place in just one weekend in Settle. All are invited to the official launch at 5pm on the Friday.

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