Recently, I joined a professional development group for writers called SignPosts, which has started to give me some confidence in my writting and poetry. Although, I have never thought of myself as a writer in 2011 I was invited to a literature festival under the banner of the Dark Mountain project.
Standing in front of a crowd of 200 people I recited stories from my community and growing up years, followed by my spoken word piece “Salt of the Earth”. It was a daunting experience, Dougald is a Cambridge graduate, I fondly refer to him as a “super brain” feeling humbled that the story of my artwork and lost heritage is documented in Dark Mountain movement.
The Observer newspaper reviewed the festival and mentioned my spot “Young writer from South Yorkshire”. I have wrote extensively in journals over the years but never have considered myself to be a writer or poet in feels uncomfortable.
The SignPosts meetings are aimed at the professional development of writers in Doncaster, our first gathering explored the idea of Church View Centre, Doncaster’s former art college and Warren Draper’s forthcoming event the “Telling” linked with the Dark Mountain and the idea: what if the lights go out, the economy flatlines, our unsustainable way of life is over, what will we do? How will we survive? How will we come together as artists and musicians to build a new future from the dystopia?
Being a miners’ strike baby and growing up in the aftermath of the strike we survived a economic crash that sore my parents community and way of life fade into oblivion. Twenty years on there is hope, we can survive the apathy and forge new stories in the darkness that will lead us into the light. We survived.
My first poem under the banner of SignPosts reference Church View Centre Doncaster the partially derelict arts college where artists writers and musicians are coming together to build a new legacy from old ashes since the buildings closure. Doncaster’s lost art souls are being brought together to collaborate in new ways here.
From 2002-2003 I studied art at Church View, I was 18 looking for my ticket to study in London. At Church View I found the space to discover what it actually meant to be a strike baby, how it effected my growing up years.The seed of thought that grew into words, photography, video, drawing and textiles formed a body of work that would later be admired by Dougald Hine linking me to the Dark Mountain Manifesto in 2010.
Now I look back 10 years later, I have come full circle from sketchbooks that developed under the guidances of art tutors at Church View. It’s time for a new chapter, to pay homage to the bricks and mortar as the next artistic journey unfolds.
Hungry Bellies: The Proud Memory of Church View.
The memory of what once was,
Is a ghosts whispering in the Court Yard,
As manmade, dirt, debrie and decay,
Litter our proud memory of Church View.
In between Deco and Nova,
A drawing room filled with
Bright white light and creative ruminations,
Reach out from the walls,
To feed on our unconscious beginnings.
But the pigeons Coo here now,
And their humble nests inspire new truths,
Far away from the glutinous days,
Before the ground zero, digital glitch.
Then the people came;
with hungry bellies and frugal budgets,
With old forgotten miner’s lamps,
They found their way home.