Hear My Voice: Bringing Poetry to Barnsley

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Hear my voice is a three year programme set up by Barnsley Council to encourage the people of Barnsley to express themselves through poetry, the written, and spoken word.

It began in 2016 with a poetry competition for budding Barnsley poets to enter a poem around the theme of ‘home’. To encourage people to enter their work, Hear My Voice set up a series of free workshops around Barnsley for all ages and abilities.


Free workshops facilitated by poets and writers took place in the run up to the competition.The workshops I was involved with were held by Vicky Morris from Hive South Yorkshire. She worked with children, adults and young people in a variety of activities to create written work around the competition theme of ‘home’.

Vicky Morris teaching hear my voice workshop in Barnsley LibraryA cup of tea in a green cup and saucer on a white table next to a mobile phone and hand writing with blue pen

Children in a classroom writing poetry hear my voice barnsley with crisps in green bowls

Vicky Morris looking over childrens shoulders during a workshop for Hear my voice Barnsley

Vicky Morris talking to two girls looking over their shoulders at TADS Barnsley for Hear my voice

Poems in the pub

Poems in the pub takes place each month in the Arcade Alehouse, Barnsley. Each month it is hosted by different writers, who have very different backgrounds and styles of work. Before the competition deadline they were encouraging participants of the workshops to enter their work (some of who won!) and they’re continuing now as part of the Hear My Voice festival. These workshops are free to attend, but booking is essential.

Steve Ely in the Arcade Alehouse Barnsley reciting poetry and making a fist

Helen Mort in black and white close up smiling looking left with people in the background

Black and white hand poised to write with drinks in Arcade Alehouse Barnsley for poems in the pub

Group of ladies sat around a pub table wirting one in purple jumper with pen to her mouth in the Arcade Alehouse Barnsley

Four Adults using pub furniture to rest on for Poems in the pub Barnsley

Stories of the Somme

As part of their festival Hear My Voice invited writer Nik Perring to conduct a workshop for a local school that tied in with the Experience Barnsley exhibition ‘Stories of the Somme’. After spending a morning learning more about the Battle of the Somme and looking at some artifacts from the front line Nik engaged the children in creating written pieces about the battle. It was fantastic to see them so excited over their written work.

Two schoolboys in red uniform looking in a folder under the Stories of the Somme exhibition at Experience Barnsley

Nik Perring demonstrating with one arm out in the Learning Lab Experience Barnsley Museum

Nik Perring in black top and green scarf coming out of the mine at Experience Barnsley Museum

Black and white child with had raised in classroom with teacher in background

The Winners

The Hear My Voice competition ended with a presentation evening at The Cooper Gallery. The winners and runners up were all invited to collect their prizes and read their winning entries. The evening was presented by Ian McMillan, who was also part of the judging panel for the competition. He said he was overwhelmed by the amount of entries that had been received, and encouraged everyone to keep writing!

First Place

Daniel Barron
Eloise Unerman
Sue Riley

Second Place

Theo Jagger
Pijus Bruzas
Bronwen Barber

You can read their winning entries here.

Hear my voice poetry competiti0n winners with judges in front of Picasso Linocuts The Civic Barnsley

Get involved

The Hear my voice festival will continue over the next few years. You’ll find out all you need to get involved at the Barnsley Council website or keep in touch via their Twitter account.

Hive is also a new organisation supporting young people to reach their writing potential. Aimed at 14 – 25 year olds they have various events happening throughout the year.

Keep up with the writers and poets that have been involved with Hear My Voice with the links below.
Nik Perring
Steve Ely
Helen Mort
Ian Mcmillan