Throughout April, Reece Williams engaged with young people from Rochdale Youth Service on the Darnhill estate in Heywood. Anjum Malik had phone calls in both Urdu and English with a group of women from Deeplish in central Rochdale. Whilst John Lindley (former Cheshire Poet Laureate, and Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year) phoned and Zoomed with older people from the Langley estate in Middleton.
The project was supported by volunteers and partner organisations in each area: Rochdale Youth Service, Bowlee Pavilion and Deeplish Community Centre.
Danielle Porter, Project Manager, says:
“We are delighted with how the project has turned out and we’ve had great feedback from the participants. Whilst all three of the poems explore the experience of living through the pandemic, we are being told about it from a range of viewpoints and they explore experiences from contracting COVID-19, getting married in Lockdown to the sense of community that was created and new ways of interacting with family and friends’. We’d love to see the public’s photos of them walking the routes so please tag us in photos @CartwheelArts using the hashtag #thepoetrymiles.”
The poems were installed by Manchester-based international visual artist, Sumit Sarkar, who used his expertise in graffiti art to exhibit the poems on the streets. From June 2021, maps of where the poems can be found will be distributed across Rochdale as well as appearing on the Cartwheel Arts website and social media.
Film-maker, Nick Farimond is creating a short film about the project, that captures each of the poetry miles to bring the project to a wider audience and so that people who may find it difficult to walk the routes can still have access to the poems.
Lucy Holland, Operations and Development Manager at Cartwheel Arts, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding by Arts Council England, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Rochdale Borough Culture Network to create a project that amplifies and celebrates the voices of individuals and communities who might not ordinarily have that platform. We know how important getting outside has been during the past year so we are hoping that this project will add something new to people’s daily walks and create a really accessible way of engaging with a high quality arts project.”
The starting points for each of the three poems are:
Darnhill: Argyle Street Precinct, Argyle Street, Darnhill, Heywood, OL10 3RY (this is a circular route.)
Deeplish: Deeplish Community Centre, Hare Street, Rochdale, OL11 1JT. End point is Broadfield Park.
Join us on Wednesday 2nd June @ 11:30am for the launch
Langley: Just down from Woodside Medical Centre, Langley, Middleton, M24 5QL. End point is Bowlee Pavilion.
Join us on Friday 4th June @ 11:30am for the launch