Wow. It's been over a year since my last post. I like to think the reason being that I've been too busy to post up projects... There is some truth in this, but there's also an effort on my part to be less concerned with 'on-line presence', and to put more attention into real life. This last year I've been incredibly lucky to work on so many varied projects in such diverse locations, as well as having a little poetry published here and there. Without giving too much away, here's some video links telling the story of one of the most enjoyable projects I've managed and delivered recently. The videos are shot and edited by Siobhan Daley, as part the Unregistered project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed through Art in the Park. With thanks to Luisa Golob, Cassie Kill, the late Keith Hayman, Simon Gedye, and many many more!
Word Life/ Now Then Sheffield have created a fantastic project showcasing 21 local poets, filmed performing their work in different venues around the city. I'm honoured to say that I'm amongst this group, reading my poem 'Metro to South Shields', in Norfolk Park. You can watch the video, along with the other 20, by clicking the link below. Massive thanks to Joe Kriss and Nathan Gibson for their hard work on the project, and to all the other poets for their first rate performances.
Earlier in the year I completed two intergenerational projects for Art in the Park, coordinated by Cassie Kill. The work completed by the participants is now hot off the press, showcased in two newspapers, the content edited by myself, and neatly designed by Victoria Fedak.
Each project was focussed in a different way. For the Crookes project, I spent most of my time with writers who were over 50, generating reflective and creative prose and poetry and providing the opportunity to share work with the group. After building some collective momentum, the project culminated in the Crookes group spending the day with members of Sheffield and Rotherham Young Writers. During the day the two groups were able to get to know each other by sharing stories, co-authoring short works and corresponding with each other's imaginations. The results are funny, moving, historic and futuristic.
The Wise Words project was focussed in two primary schools in the Netheredge area of Sheffield, where I had the privilege to work with some enthusiastic and creative young writers. Over six weeks, we wrote poems and portraits of older family members, until the project culminated in a series of visits from the Lowedges Writers, whose memory banks included such treasures and rarities as Blitzkrieg tales, bygone street games and traditional family antics.
My enduring memory of these projects is the joy that the participants seem to experience in each other's company. It is as if the young couldn't wait to speak to the old, and visa-versa, yet they lacked a forum in which to do so. The facilitation of this forum was a moving experience, witnessing the honesty, individuality, and kindness of the participants. If you have to good fortune to come across one of these publications, I'd highly recommend a read.