Seen But Seldom Heard

Posted on Wednesday, September 5 2012

Innovative poetry project Seen But Seldom Heard gave its debut performance on Thursday night at Weymouth’s ICCI360 Arena. The poetry event featured inspiring performances from young people from the Victoria Education Centre, Royal Manor School and the Gryphon School; all compered by legendary poets Liv Torc and Johnny Fluffypunk.

Kick-starting the evening was original poetry from the Victoria Education Centre – a school for disabled teenagers. Poets Jagdev, Lauren, David, Evie and George communicated through a variety of mediums, including impressive projections on the Arena’s panoramic 360 screens. Through their poetry they expressed their experiences, challenges and dreams they have for the future. Dr Carrie Hodges, co-creator of the project, spoke about what was has been gained from the work:

“When we were talking to some of the young people in the rehearsals this week, they were saying that one of the most important things for them is that they have been able to make friends with others in the school that they would not have necessarily worked with before. It has given them new skills in talking about and expressing their experiences.”

The project was part of the Cultural Olympiad, coinciding with the Paralympics which was one of the themes the students focused on. Some of the poems echoed the Olympic Values of Friendship, Respect and Excellence. Students from Victoria Education Centre were encouraged to attend poetry workshops led by Liv Torc and Johnny Fluffypunk.

Reflecting on the journey, Liv Torc explained how she felt when seeing the students performing their own poetry on stage, “I feel so proud of them and so proud of the project, we have proved something really exciting with poetry. It has taught me that I love helping people who find it hard communicating, to communicate, and what a powerful gift that is.”

As well as the success of the poetry and the growth seen in all the young people involved, one of the lasting benefits to come out of this project is the continuing effect of poetry throughout the education system, and research into its potential uses in social care and therapy.

The Seen but Seldom Heard project will be performing at Bournemouth University and the Bridport Literary Festival later this year, with an anthology of the students’ work available to buy for £5.