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Climate Poetry Lab

Contributed by Alice Litchfield on 24.05.2016

An Article about Climate Poetry Lab. Written by Alice Litchfield 

The Climate Poetry Lab promised to be an evening of entertainment and information and it didn’t disappoint. Held at Fred’s Ale House in Levenshulme, Manchester Met and Evidently had put together an event to attract the community and fellow poets to engage with Climate Change issues. It is all part of Manchester’s strategy to engage the public with the city’s understanding and action on Climate Change. The event’s aim was to inform participants of Climate Change adaptation strategies and how people can get involved in order to change the city. The dynamic hosts for the

evening were Kieran King and Dr Sam Illingworth, both passionate about poetry and Climate Change and coming together for the evening to combine the two. The poets were Dominic Berry, Joy France and Sophia Walker, who all had poems centred round Climate Change but also other issues with significant meaning for them.

Dr Sam Illingworth both introduced and closed the evening and had a strong message about the impact we have on Climate Change. He mentioned how Manchester aims to become carbon zero by 2050 and how we need to look back and think that this was the time of change and not that we left it too late. At the end we spoke to him about the event and his response was that “It was really good for people to come to a location that doesn’t get a lot of attention. The normal way of getting across to people doesn’t work but poetry allows new ways to get important points across and evoke emotional response”.

The evening was designed so people can have their say about what needs to be done in order to tackle Climate Change. The poets were all very enthusiastic and silence fell around the room as they performed their poems. The first to take the stage was Joy France, who also spends her time working in the creative space at Afflex palace. Her first poem was based around her being able to find her voice and how it had enabled her to perform her poems she had written. Her next few were ideas based around Climate Change such as the effect it is having on bees. The next poet was Dominic Berry who had a short introduction telling us that being vegan was positive, particularly in Manchester where there is no shortage of delicious vegan food. His next poems centred round his trip to India and the sites he saw. Finally BBC Slam Champ Sophia Walker took to the stage, having recently performed at COP21, her poem was emotive and moving.

Sophia Walker spoke about how people rely on scientists to come up with a solution to Climate Change however the scientists are relying on individuals to make a change, they can only do so much. The population needs people to come together and work with each other, it will start off small but the message can spread. We need to take action together and not reply on governments or scientists, we need to address the fact climate change is happening and it is real and we need to take practical action to avoid degrading the planet further. Her message was powerful and resonated with everyone in the room.

The event was supported by Manchester A Certain Future and Eastland Homes. It was a unique way to connect with a different audience and begin to try and attract the public and people who may not normally be attending events associated with climate change.
There are no longer any excuses for what is happening to our planet. To conclude attendees at the event mentioned that “It was a really motivational event and it was great to see so many people empowered to make a change in Manchester”-  anonymous atendee. 

For more information on the poets, visit their Twitter Pages:
@samillingworth @PoetWalker @joyfrancepoet @thepoetdominic @MankyGitt

Photos courtesy of Manchester Metropolitan University on Flickr