Lydia Allison was Young Poet in Residence at The Point, home of Doncaster Community Arts (DARTS) from December 2018 to July 2019. The aim of the residency was to write new work, and engage local adults in creative writing, inspired by three exhibitions in the gallery at The Point: Artist Rooms: Bill Viola, Quirkus and Scribble, Doodle & Draw.
The project, part of Hive’s Hatch (developing emerging writers for next steps) programme, culminated in an anthology showcasing a selection of the work produced on the project and a celebration and sharing event at darts.
As part of the residency, Lydia ran a programme of creative writing workshops exploring themes and stimulus from the exhibitions open to the public and working with Darts Creative Directions group, Doncaster’s Conversation Club (supporting asylum seekers and refugees) and Doncaster People Focused Group.
As well as enthusing people to enjoy writing, the aim was also to encourage new visitors into Darts to discover this wonderful free, creative resource on their doorstep. The emphasis was on removing barriers to participation in writing, enjoying visual art, and building practical skills and confidence in each individual’s voice. Lydia blogged about each exhibition which you can find at: www.hivesouthyorkshire.com/category/darts.
Darts Young Poet in Residence was supported by Hive South Yorkshire’s Hatch programme, developing emerging writers for next steps at the beginning of their careers, and Doncaster
That’s Me Now Anthology foreword – Lydia Allison
It’s been a pleasure to be Young Poet in Residence at The Point for the last nine months. Not only has it given me time and space to write, as well as filling me with inspiration for my own poetry, it has given me the opportunity to work with a diverse and fascinating range of individuals. I had not done anything like this residency before. I was excited to have a clear creative and conceptual space in which to base my writing, and to develop new ways to facilitate others to engage in writing, through the wonderful stimuli and themes that emerged through three very different exhibitions. From the beginning, I also benefitted from the collaboration and mutual support of the groups I worked with as we explored ideas together.
As well as connecting and working with some wonderful people, I enjoyed spending time alone immersed in exhibitions, following whatever path felt natural in my writing. I would then try to trace my way back along that path and find a way to invite workshop participants to try out their own routes in writing sessions. The poems produced, while based firmly in the gallery and often coming from the same exercises, will take you in many different directions and give you a glimpse into the lives and inner thoughts of many different people, each with a unique story to tell.
I am so grateful to the Hatch programme run by Hive. So many doors seem to close in your mid-twenties, and the support from Vicky Morris at Hive has been particular invaluable, both in terms of my creative development, and as I navigate my career as a freelance writer and practitioner. Many thanks as well to the team at the Point for being so positive about the sessions and for making a space that is welcoming and fosters creativity across mediums.
Finally, thank you to all the writers and participants who have attended these sessions. Often just attending a session can be daunting, and I have so much admiration for everybody who allowed themselves to experience the space, reflect inwardly, and share the incredible and inventive work you’re about to read. I hope they are pleased – I know I am, and I believe you’ll get a deeper understanding of darts, Doncaster, and the wonderful people who make it so special.
Lydia Allison is a poet, writing facilitator, and mentor. She is a graduate of Manchester Writing School, as well as the Writing Squad. Her work has appeared online and in print, including in The Result Is What You See Today, Introduction X, Poetry Salzburg Review, and PN Review. She enjoys a range of modern and contemporary writers and her other favourite things in life are the Yorkshire countryside and cake for breakfast. You can read more at www.lydiaallison.com or follow her on twitter @lydiarallison
With thanks to: Lydia Allison, Lucy Robertshaw, Helen Jones, Michele Beck, Vicky Morris, Amy Knowles & El Stannage. Most importantly, all who took part in this project including people from Darts Creative Directions group, Doncaster Peoples Focus Group, and Doncaster Conversation Club.
Part of the Hatch programme – Next steps for young writers in South Yorkshire. Supported by Darts (Doncaster Community Arts)