Virtual Museum / Virtual Poet

Reflections from Rachel Carney

The last few months have been strange, bordering on the surreal, as so much of our daily lives, our habits and interactions, have gone virtual. While many of us, myself included, have benefitted from a transference of events to online formats, there is something about face-to-face contact that cannot be gained through a screen. That is true of social conversations and meetings, but it’s also true of art and creative inspiration, or we wouldn’t need museums.

I’ve relished the opportunity, these last few weeks, to gain a fresh insight into my own creative process, to respond to the work of local artists, and to see how others respond to my writing through social media.

The highlight of this residency was the creative writing workshop (the first time I’ve delivered a workshop via Zoom). Although it was different in many ways, it did feel very much like a safe, unique space, a space where, for a brief couple of hours, twelve of us came together with one shared, creative aim, to seek inspiration from art, and to write.

And I hope this will continue. While we’re unable to get out into the real world, the virtual world is the next best option. But I also hope that, when the time comes, we’ll remember how much better it is to be there, in the museum, looking at the real thing.

The pieces from Rachel’s residency are archived here. You can find out more about Rachel’s and her work on her blog


Poems from Workshop Participants

I’ll leave you with two of the pieces that were written in the workshop…


A poem by Majickle in response to ‘Number 14’ by Nigel Whitbread

We huggle
red-haired women
whose cheeks flame
against pale skin
from the glory of winning
scald of steam sweats
our circle of hard-beating hearts
excited exerted exercised we
have earned this public cuddle
breasts lock us tight-together
fearless in the face
we got each other’s backs

I touch my generation
A nd smell beneath the shower gel
Celtic triumphant talents of
banished Boudica back again




A poem by Maria Andrews responding to ‘Abandoned Car’ by Lee Shott

Later, I strained to make headway,
Move my form dried in a canvas you had painted,

Edge through black, a long triangular stretch,
A running pool of shadow at my back.

Pink vastness was the earth’s air embrace
Replacing yours, as Time fell into me, it’s hole.

We were made brutes by ticking clocks within,
Innards and watch springs thrown to the winds,

The sky was our echo chamber then,
For a world far too small.

When everything physical has been swept aside,
Colour still holds the fingers of line

Breaks in the poems you write
To me, I to you : joy read.

And our entrapment, love, smoothed out
In pigments of what we pen, 

Ladles brief moments, as feeling
Floods our vacuum again

The gentle wash of your eyes upon my words, their lingering kiss,

Or in my breast’s beat, as you say

Lockdown is killing this…

The sun has caked the paint work
And the clothes we left inside.

My door is unlocked.

Maria Andrews

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