Poet Jo Bell announced as Britain's first 'canal laureate'
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 19 March 2014
The Canal & River Trust (CRT) is turning to the creative arts to encourage people back to Britain’s 200-year-old waterways. Among those spearheading the cultural drive is Jo Bell, the country’s first canal laureate.
Ms Bell, who has lived on a boat for more than a decade and ran the UK’s National Poetry Day, said: “The canals are one of human civilisations greatest achievements; we look at Rome and the aqueducts. People will look at Britain and the canals in the same way.”
The cultural drive, now in its third year, includes a series of contemporary art commissions such as street murals on bridges, sound installations and a sculpture walk connecting the Olympic Park and the O2.
Ms Bell said. “It seemed like a great opportunity to spread the word about the canals to a population that doesn’t know much about there.”
Her appointment was made by the CRT and the Poetry Society last year. The work of the poet laureate includes writing poetry about the canals and encouraging others to do the same. “There isn’t a huge tradition of contemporary poetry about the subject,” she said.
She has made films about the waterways, attended festivals and is planning a show to be held in dry docks around the UK.
“If it is bringing people to look at the canals, even by just putting poems out there, then my work is done,” she said. “Many people are intimidated by poetry and don’t know much about canals, so this is my mission on earth twice over.”
Ms Bell was an archaeologist for 18 years, before becoming a poet and one of her last jobs was restoring historic canal boats. “I went native and moved onto a canal boat. It’s not an accident that I took poetry more seriously after that,” she said. She does not know what will happen at the end of the year. “Maybe they will throw me in,” she said.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 4 Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight
- 5 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Endeavour series 2, episode 4 - TV review: A gripping, sordid, startling and magnificent end to the series
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash analysis: A tragic lesson of advanced weapons in the wrong hands
- < Previous
- Next >