A group of talented young writers from Newcastle have had their poems - inspired by the iconic city - published on 200 Stagecoach North East buses for all the passengers to enjoy.
Students from Excelsior Academy in Newcastle produced a series of thoughtful, evocative and striking poems inspired by being a young person in their home city as part of their involvement in the Young Writers’ City project, with the local bus operator invited to showcase the works on posters across its entire fleet of buses in Newcastle.
Since September 2015, New Writing North has worked in partnership with Excelsior Academy to deliver Young Writers’ City. The project introduces young people to creative writing and makes provision for those who find a talent or interest to continue to express themselves creatively.
Poems created by students include ‘The Night Out in the City’ by Paige Chalmers, Paige Wallace, Angel Danham and Ellie Worall, ‘Lobley Hill’ by Yazmin Southall and ‘Dance with the City’ by Nikolas Decarvalho.
15-year-old Yazmin Southall, whose poem begins ‘Newcastle makes a reality of the dreams in my mind’, said: “The teacher from Young Writers’ City at Excelsior told us to write down what makes you feel the calmest and most relaxed, the environment that makes you feel that way.
“That’s where my poem started from. I thought of going out with my friends, that’s where I feel calmest. I didn’t think my poem would appear on the bus, I felt a bit shy at first but when I told my friends about it, they thought it was great.”
Nikolas Decarvalho, 14, sees the ‘bridges as metal rainbows’ and ‘trains busy with new ideas’. He said: “We started by writing random words that came into our heads, and then to describe Newcastle in a few words.
“It’s a good city and a nice place. I felt happy and proud to see my words on the bus – my cousin even saw them, she sent a picture to my Mam who was really proud of me.”
Stagecoach North East was delighted to be involved with the project and display the works of the gifted young poets for its customers to enjoy on their travels.
Malcolm Bell, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Slatyford depot in Newcastle, said: “The poems reflect the thoughts and feelings of the young people living in this city and to be able to showcase their creative talents to the community is something that we were very keen to support.
“The words will no doubt attract the attention of our passengers and perhaps give them pause for thought. Through this poster campaign on our buses and wider public awareness we hope the students receive some great feedback and recognition, and continue to develop their creative writing.”
Anna Disley, Executive Director (Programme & Impact) at New Writing North, said: “New Writing North wants to celebrate the talents of young people and to support them to share their ideas with audiences and readers. The way we will achieve this is by working in partnership with organisations such as Stagecoach and Excelsior Academy, which share that same commitment to promoting young talent. We look forward to working with them on future projects.”
Craig Taylor, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal, added: “The Young Writers’ City at Excelsior project has given our pupils a valuable platform to express their creative talents.
“Having the opportunity to showcase their superb work to thousands of passengers everyday on Stagecoach North East buses has given pupils immense pride in their work and a sense of achievement when people praise what they have written.”
The Young Writers’ City project and students at Excelsior Academy were recognised earlier this year at the Journal Culture Awards, receiving the Special Award for Outstanding Youth Achievement.
During the summer, the group also delivered their poems to a special audience at Sage Gateshead as part of a celebratory evening of music, film and spoken word from the Young Writers’ City project.
Young Writers’ City is supported by the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund. For further information please visit newwritingnorth.com/projects/young-writers-city and youngwriterscity.com.