Bournemouth MP among guests at BU Seen But Seldom Heard event

Posted on Monday, September 24 2012

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood was among guests at a showcase of poetry by young people with disabilities at Bournemouth University.

Pupils from Victoria Education Centre in Poole have been learning to express their thoughts and feelings through poetry, as part of the Seen But Seldom Heard project.

The project has been set up by lecturers from BU’s Media School and School of Health and Social Care, to give people who may be considered on the fringes of society a voice.

The young people performed their poetry in a showcase at the university on Friday, alongside performance poets Liv Torc and Johnny Fluffypunk – who have been leading weekly workshops with them, teaching skills in writing poetry, performance and communication.

Dr Carrie Hodges, senior lecturer in Communication and Culture at Bournemouth University, has helped to coordinate the Seen But Seldom Heard project.

She said: “It’s a project which uses arts-based methods to explore the lived experiences of people that we might consider to be on the margins of society – seen but seldom heard groups essentially.

“We have been using poetry as a way of encouraging the students to engage with their own experiences and feelings about living with a physical disability.”

The workshops have culminated in an anthology of the young people’s poetry and a series of three performances – the first of which was part of the Cultural Olympiad in Weymouth, and took place at the ICCI 360 Dome at the end of August.

They will also perform at the Bridport Open Book Festival, on October 10th.

Carrie said it was vital that key decision-makers, like Tobias Ellwood MP, experienced the young people’s work.

“It is really important for the young people to have the opportunity to perform in front of key decision-makers – such as MPs and local councillors – to start a conversation about issues they feel are important to them,” she said.

“We want this project to be an ongoing collaboration between the university and Victoria Education Centre, so we hope that by starting this conversation, we can raise the profile of the project, which will enable it to continue in the future.”

Mr Ellwood said: “It is important that such things are debated and discussed and I think it is fantastic that the university is not just doing the standard academic things but also expanding out into these other areas.”