Virtual Poet in Residence
I’m so pleased to become a Virtual Poet in Residence at the Cynon Valley Museum for the month of June. Just over a year ago, when I visited the museum for the first time, I was impressed by their beautiful temporary exhibition space full of incredible artwork. There were comfy seats so you could take a moment to sit and enjoy what was there, and this was no exception to the rule – many of their exhibitions showcase fascinating work produced by local artists.
The second thing that struck me was the sense of community, and that community spirit lies at the heart of this museum. A lack of funding meant closure, back in 2014, and it took a huge community effort for the museum to re-open, with the support of many volunteers who have invested a lot of time and effort into what has become a valuable community resource. Lockdown has hit the museum hard, and the staff and volunteers will need all the help they can get to keep the place going over the coming months.
Poetry cannot solve this problem, but it can celebrate the creativity of the Cynon Valley, and, perhaps, inspire more people to find an outlet for their creativity at this difficult time. I will be writing poems from my own home in Cardiff, responding to the work of artists posted on this website as part of the online exhibition programme Exhibition at Home, and online collection research project Stories from the Collection.
I’ll also be running a free online creative writing workshop “Writing Inspired by Art”, based around the museum’s online art exhibitions. This two-hour workshop will take place on Saturday 27th June, from 10am, via Zoom. It’s open to anyone, whether or not you have any previous experience of creative writing, but space will be limited so you’ll need to book a place in advance. Please look out for further announcements in relation to booking your space.
More about the poet…
Rachel Carney is a poet, book blogger and PhD student, and she’s also spent several years working in museums. Her PhD research explores the benefits of using creative writing in art museums, and she’s particularly interested in examining the writing process. She’s written articles and reviews for magazines and websites such as Wales Arts Review and The Poetry School, and one of her poems was shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize. She regularly runs creative writing workshops, and has also organised some more unusual literary events, including an exhibition of photographs and poems for the madeinroath community arts festival, and a poetry performance to mark the centenary of Edward Thomas. Visit her blog for more information www.createdtoread.com.