about human writes
Human Writes is a poetry project designed for young people aged 14 and above and is a continuation of the successful 2015 Word of the West competition, which saw 11 young people become poets in residence in libraries across the West of England. The project, initiated by Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire libraries, is funded by Arts Council England and managed by boomsatuma as part of its programme of creative activities for young people.
Six schools were chosen to take part in the Human Writes project: Broadlands Academy, Oldfield School, Writhlington School, Patchway Community College, Abbeywood Community School, Bradley Stoke Community School and have been working with Patchway and Keynsham Libraries.
As part of Human Writes, 6 young Poet Laureates have been chosen to represent their schools and raise the profile of poetry in their school communities. The Poet Laureates will be commissioned to write poems as directed by the libraries, project manager and award winning poet, Joelle Taylor. Joelle will also mentor each student over the course of the year.
Joelle is a performance poet, playwright, spoken word artist and author from Lancashire who is now based in London. She is the Performance Poetry Slam Champion and since 2001 she has been the Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, the UK's biggest youth poetry slam, run by The Poetry Society and the longest running spoken word education programme in the country. In 2015, she was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts, as well as being named one of Southbank Centre’s Nelson Mandela Change Makers for positively affecting cultural Britain.
In June, the young poets attended a creative writing residency run by the Arvon Foundation in Devon. Totleigh Barton, the first ever Arvon centre, is a 16th-century manor house in one of the most peaceful and idyllic parts of the country. As well as Joelle Taylor, the students worked with Anthony Anaxagoru on the residency.
Anthony is of Cypriot origin and was born in North East London. He is passionate about social problems amongst young people focusing on issues such as racism, history, religion, addiction and abuse, and encouraging young people to speak out and voice their thoughts. Amongst many projects, he works with the Poetry Society assisting in numerous creative writing projects and mentoring other young poets in developing their ideas and expressing themselves through a positive creative medium.
After the residency, the young poets are tasked with working in their schools to promote literary activity and to get more young people reading and writing work of their own. The young Poet Laureates will also work with the libraries in their area, to create a programme of poetry activities geared towards young people – workshops, readings, performances for a whole year.
PROJECT SO FAR
Since the Arvon Foundation residency, the Young Poets have been working in collaboration their schools to create a programme of activity for their fellow students and members of their communities. Their aim is to showcase their work and celebrate the work of others whilst encouraging other young people to engage with poetry.
So far, the young people have had some excellent ideas including running workshops for other year groups, hosting assemblies to promote their responsibility as Laureate, taking over areas of the school with poetry displays and recitals, working with librarians to create and promote poetry sections of the libraries, using the Patchway and Keynsham library as a performance space for slam competitions.
The Young Poet Laureates have also been commissioned to write poems on a monthly basis with the guidance of Joelle Taylor. The commissions will be shared with the local authorities for their websites and displayed in their libraries as well as being shared by boomsatsuma.
Working closely with Joelle, the Young Poets are receiving support on how to develop their writing and their teaching skills as they act ambassadors of poetry in their communities.
For all Human Writes updates see the latest news blog below.
To stay up to date with all Human Writes activity, follow us on social media or get in contact to find out more – Lyndsay@boomsatsuma.com
Human Writes would not be possible without the support of:
word in the west
View performances from the predecessor of Human Writes- Word In The West, and download the previous anthology of poems.