Picture the Poet – Young Poets Project (2014)

Role/s: Writer & poetry facilitator 

 “There is something in those marble eyes that knows how to pick you apart.” Participant

I supported young people from Sheffield and Rotherham to produce poetry and portraiture inspired by the National Portrait Gallery’s Picture the Poet touring exhibition. As well as responding to the exhibition itself, we looked at the work of featured poets and the themes of identity and self-portraiture. The young people also wrote about their own portraits with powerful results.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the performance side of it, I could feel the blood racing to my head when I got off stage. I felt alive. I’m most proud of reading out my friend’s poem as she couldn’t be there due to health issues.” Participant

Click on an image below to view as a slideshow >>

To celebrate the work produced during the project, the group performed at a special event at Grave’s Art Gallery in Sheffield alongside well-known talents Buddy Wakefield and Lemn Sissay In November 2014. Film snapshot of the event here.

“I feel like I have more experience under my belt, and am seeing a clear difference in the styles of different poets, including one of my own which I never thought I would write.” Participant

In April 2015 I accompanied three of the young poets to the National Portrait Gallery in London to perform their work at the Picture the Poet Conference. The day explored ways that galleries, museums and libraries can support creative writing and literacy for young people in schools and in the community. Poet Ian McMillan was ‘in residence’ during the day, to share his perspective on the project and his approach to inspiring creative writing. Details here.

For a blog post I write about the project for Apples & Snakes click here.

“Just completed the last Saturday. It was SO refreshing to be around people who don’t care about ‘conventional coolness.’ They break into song for no reason, compliment your articulated thoughts and read their poetry in-a-serious-way. Everyone is accepted without question. I am who I am.”

For general info and films click here
For info about the Sheffield projects click here
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About Picture the Poet
Picture the Poet is a partnership project between The National Portrait Gallery, Apples and Snakes and the National Literacy Trust. The three-year project touring in six UK museums and galleries, compiles a selection of photographic portraits of poets from the National Portrait Gallery Collection.

An extensive schools programme, based around raising literacy in schools, is being led by the National Literacy Trust alongside Apples and Snakes‘ bespoke celebratory events and project activities for young people at each of the museums and galleries along the tour; all linked to the Picture the Poet exhibition in collaboration with local arts and literature organisations and writers along the tour.