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Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

My Time

Image: relax by John Davis, via a Creative Commons licence
Image: relax by John Davis, via a Creative Commons licence

Time – like poetry, and, perhaps, a few poets – is precious. What we do with it matters. We work, we live, we sleep – and we play. Hobbies, pastimes, interests – call it what you like, but many of us use our spare time to pursue a passion. From drama groups to cosplay, salsa dancing to watercolours, Scots spend their time pursuing a mindboggling number of activities.

A new project recognises and celebrates the diversity of voluntary arts activity in Scotland. Voluntary Arts Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library have collaborated to create My Time - Poetry Inspired by Voluntary Arts. Funded by Creative Scotland, My Time is a Scotland-wide participative project taking place over 2017 and into 2018. Poets will team up with voluntary arts groups to create a series of poems that capture the full range of community-led arts. In addition, the project will stress the connections voluntary arts groups have with the area in which they are based. My Time will culminate in an exhibition and ten new poems that, taken together, will present a new, wide-ranging and quirky way of looking at the voluntary arts.

Jemma Neville, the Director of Voluntary Arts Scotland says, ‘From hula-hooping to oil painting, brass bands to embroidery, finding time for ourselves to be creative brings people together, sustains local venues, and helps us make sense of the world around us.’

The project begins today with an open call for poems capturing what ‘my time’ means. The deadline to submit poems is 29 September, so there’s still time to take part. Poems can be written in any style – haiku, sonnet, limerick, you decide – and without word restriction (although we’d appreciate it if you didn’t send in too many epic poems, unless you’re absolutely convinced it’s a work of genius); the poem can even have been published before, as long as it addresses the subject of hobbies. Entry forms can be found on the VAS website (see below).

A panel of representatives from the Scottish Poetry Library and Voluntary Arts Scotland will choose a number of poems to appear online, from which Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay will select one poem to appear in an exhibition during the 2018 Get Creative festival.

In mid-September, the second leg of My Time commences when ten poets will each join a voluntary arts groups in different locations around Scotland. Each poet will take part in the group’s activities, and once he or she has got a feel for what the group does, the poet will write a poem about it. There will be an opportunity for the group featured to respond to the poem through the medium of whatever art they spend their free-time pursuing. Here’s hoping one of the poets joins an opera group! The poems will be recorded and available as audio and text on both the VAS and SPL websites.

From next March to May, there will be an exhibition of the work generated for the project, featuring poems, photographs and digital recordings of poets reading their work. It will take place in Glasgow during the Voluntary Arts Festival, before moving onto the SPL.

Asif Khan, Director, Scottish Poetry Library said: ‘Poets will no doubt embrace the opportunity to engage with voluntary arts groups across Scotland to discover the passions and motivations that drive people to get together to create and share. We will help to promote to a wide audience the much-anticipated work that the poets produce in response to meeting with the arts groups.’

Whatever you do with your spare time, save some to take part in My Time.

If you would like to submit a poem to be a part of the My Time project, click here. The deadline, remember, is 29 September.

Category: projects