Locks, Bells & Peeling Wallpaper

This series of poetry workshops took place in Autumn 2013. It was our second Write Here residency for Writing East Midlands, and it continued our ongoing work to provide opportunities for the ‘digging out’ of poetic material from inspiring places.

During this residency, Mark collaborated with local writers on poetic ‘expeditions’ to three resonant heritage sites. The workshops were aimed at writers (from novice to experienced), and we are delighted that heritage staff at all three venues also joined in the creative process.

Foxton Locks Museum

An evening workshop at Foxton Locks Museum explored the museum and the Foxton Locks site, including the famous flight of staircase locks.

The Keeper of the museum wrote of the experience;

I have written and published some poetry and some songs in the past, but since school (nearly 50 years ago) I have never taken part in any creative writing events. As keeper of Foxton Canal Museum, I had to be there, but I did enjoy the experience. I don’t know what I was expecting, but whatever I thought it would be this was better.”

Carillon Tower & Queens Park

At the Carillon Tower & Queens Park in Loughborough, participants spent the afternoon in the company of various sounds. Mark lead them on a tour of the park, listening to sound of the everyday, and of the exotic birds in the aviary. Participants also climbed the tower, and whilst the bells were silent, an audio recording of the carillon playing was experienced.

Artist, Elaine Wheeler, also joined the workshop. While half the group played and rang hand-bells, Elaine encouraged the other half to respond to the sounds through chalk and pen.

Calke Abbey

In two full-day workshops at Calke Abbey, participants experienced the fascinating decaying interior spaces of this National Trust ‘un-stately home’. Experiencing the grand saloon in the morning before the house was open to the general public, was a special occurrence. This contrasted with the afternoon’s experience of writing in the busy kitchen space. Participants also got chance to experience the behind the scenes spaces of the laundry and servants hall. The writers gathered in the stables for a final read around of the poetic outcomes of the day.

The poetic produce from the workshops has been collected together in three e-pamphlets.  Click here to read these anthologies.

The ‘Locks, Bells & Peeling Wallpaper’ poetry series, was a Write Here residency funded by Writing East Midlands and Museum Development East Midlands.