Local community groups inspired by visit from large light poem

Image description: In the foreground we see water shooting up from the ground as part of a street fountain, we can see the bottom half of a little boy who looks like he is about to kick the water with his foot. Behind this we can see a large lit up poem attached to a metal trailer which is holding it up. In large white text the poem says 'At what point do we fall into each others arms and dance again loosening our shadow? We are vulnerable in this first light, but rising steady now, crowning in the new music.'. In the background we can see some signs, a couple of buildings and a blue sky.

Written by Arches Fests

4th August 2021

Emergency Exit Arts’ Recovery Poems visited Worcester city centre and two community hubs as part of The Arches Worcester Festivals’ Same But Different. You can watch our film about the Recovery Poems’ visit to Worcester here!

Recovery Poems, is the creation of artists Robert Montgomery and Deanna Rodger inspired by the thoughts and feelings of the many people they talked to as we started to come out of lockdown and look back over the pandemic. The large light poem toured Worcester’s streets and local neighbourhoods during Same But Different, inviting passers-by and community groups to react and respond. 

Image description: A young group of school children stand in a group facing slightly to the right of the camera where the audience are. A young girl wearing a jumpsuit and facepaint is holding a microphone and singing into it. Other school children stand beside and behind her singing, some looking at the lyrics on a piece of paper. In the foreground we can see the back of audience members watching the performance.

It has been brilliant to bring Recovery Poems to the city. It is a beautiful poem that allows you to interpret certain elements the way you want to and take away from it your own experience. Having a large, illuminated poem that tours the city has been a really visual prompt for reflection and offered a sense of hope and positivity to those who have seen itDavid Edmunds, Festivals Director, Severn Arts

The inspiring light poem sparked reflection and creativity amongst Worcester’s communities. At the Horizon Centre and KGV Centre there was dancing, singing from Stanley Road School choir, music and poetry performances alongside chalk murals and washing lines filled with written responses to the poems as the communities came together to be creative. 

Image description: A woman stands in the center of the image, she is wearing a long blue dress with purple and pink patterns on it, she has a blue visor with a flower attached and her hair is blonde with the ends dyed a similar light blue to her visor and dress. She is holding a microphone as she reads her poem out loud, reading it on her phone which she holds in front of her. In the background we can see a stage with a speaker, and some graffiti.

The two community events were supported by community curator Anjali Taneja and Worcester Community Trust. 

“This is my first role as community curator working with The Arches Worcester Festivals and I’m excited to bring Recovery Poems to the heart of our local communities. We have some amazing talent and creative ideas just within the local area. Everyone has an experience of the pandemic that is worth sharing. It shows us how much we have in common, and how vital our connection with other people is to our well-being, and that’s what we are celebrating. All the people I’ve spoken to about this event were keen to support the project and get involved where they can.” – Anjali Fowler, Community Curator

Image description: A young boy wearing a grey T-shirt and glasses is holding up a green piece of card clearly showing something he has made to the woman standing next to him. The woman wears a grey T-shirt, denim shorts and a high vis jacket indicating she is working. She holds a hat and water bottle in her hand and she is looking at the card and smiling at the young boy. In the background we can see a few people also at the event.

Working with The Arches Worcester Festivals has come at such a good time for Worcester Community Trust, as we begin to encourage people back out into their community and emerge from lockdown. The Recovery Poems has helped us to generate conversations about recovery from covid, within our Community Connectors and JOY projects, using art and poetry to encourage participants to explore how they have been feeling over the past 16 months and how they are feeling now. Our communities are very proud of the artwork and poems they have created for the evening events”Ruth Heywood, CEO, Worcester Community Trust

Image description: We can see a washing line has been hung up and there are multiple pieces of colourful paper that have been hung up on the line. The main one in focus in the image is a green piece of paper that has an acrostic poem on it, and while we can't see what the poem itself says we can see the word 'Recovery' has been drawn down the side of the page with each letter being a different colour. In the background we can see more art and poems that have been put up.

It is really exciting for us to bring Recovery Poems as a creative catalyst for communities and ask them how they want to respond to it. Tsee the results of their inspiration and creative responses, curated directly by that community, has been amazing. We are looking forward to working in the same way with more communities moving forward.” Elaine Knight, Artistic Director, Severn Arts

Recovery Poems is a partnership project between Without Walls, Emergency Exit Arts, 101 Outdoor Arts, Robert Montgomery, Deanna Rodger, Thatcham Town Council.

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