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’.
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.
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 artefacts 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.
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!
You can read their winning entries here.
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.