A couple of weeks ago I was invited to work with Campbell College, Belfast on a poem for their end-of-year event.
The brief was that Campbell wanted a "poem that will reflect for everyone all the things that we have experienced this year, the funny and the poignant, the good and the not so good. A poem that will unite our community in a positive way to reflect and learn from the last year and look forward with hope."
"[The] College motto is Ne Obliviscaris - do not forget – born out of the experience of the College during WWI and a tribute to the men and boys we lost. We will never forget the last 18 months and hence this poem is centred around our collective memories and how they have changed us…brought us closer together whilst further apart."
From my point of view, this was brilliant to receive as usually the concept is the hardest part to come up with. However, this brief and concept saved a lot of time - which we didn't have a lot of anyway as the poem was due to be filmed 12 days after I had the initial meeting with the school. The timescale was: Friday virtual meeting, Wednesday physical meeting, work on the poem Thursday-Sunday, send poem to Campbell on Monday, edit Tuesday, film on Wednesday!
The key part was the collecting of ideas and responses from pupils, teachers, staff and alumni as to their memories and feelings from the past 15 months. These were then collated and edited by me into a poem which was shared online on the Friday 25th June as part of Campbell's end of year event.
During the creative process, I got to spend a short period of time with selected pupils from Years 8-10 which was a fantastic experience - and listening to the chat and banter between the boys (it's an all boys school) reminded me of my own school days. We even got to chat about the upcoming Euro 2020 football tournament and I learnt the expression "clutch up" which, sadly, didn't make it into the final poem!
The video filmed by Moving Image students working in collaboration with Whitenoise Studios (https://whitenoisestudios.com/) and the poem read by Campbell Head Prefect, George Robinson.
As per the original brief, Campbell wanted "an authentic and unique presentation and a fitting way to end the year. It will also leave an archive for future generations as they look back on this time in history."
I was delighted with the results of all our efforts, and you can watch the poem here: