The City of London is the perfect tool for teaching children about London’s Built Environment but recently the Learning team got the chance to use it to inspire pupils’ creative writing skills too.
Working with The National Literary Trust we welcomed 60 year 8 pupils from Robert Clack and George Mitchell Schools to take part in their Young City Poets projects in January 2017.
This project aims to raise literacy attainment through running workshops that use objects in museums and galleries as inspiring stimuli for writing poetry. The City Centre was one of seven partners from cultural organisations within the square mile involved in this year’s project. The National Literacy Trust created a new teaching resource to enable us to use the City of London model for a spoken word poetry workshop based on onomatopoeia. Pupils observed the sounds in the local area working in groups in the Guildhall Yard before creating their own soundscapes of the City to perform around the model.
This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to use our model in a completely different way from our usual architecture and design focussed sessions and we were particularly delighted when the young people’s laureate for London, poet Caleb Femi, wrote this beautiful poem based on his experiences of visiting our workshops;
And So You Forgot What This City Said To You As A Child
A blade of muttering bounces on the shoulder of skyscrapers -I know you heard it too.
Every year I add to my age I hear it less and less maybe this is how magic works.
I envy the soft bone in your ear they remain pristine and hear the engines torquing about things
I have no privilege to know anymore. You have always been good at keeping secrets, so good.
Tell me, when the wind rubs its back on the metal and glass of these buildings does it still sound like my old uncle yawning?
What I would give to be a child again in the hush of the rush and hear once more the secrets of this place made of glass and salt.
Reproduced with the permission of Caleb Femi, Young Peoples’ Laureate for London 2017.