Poet-Tree: Children’s Laureate Wales combines poetry and visual art to inspire children to make pledges for the future

Published Wed 5 Apr 2023 - By Literature Wales
Poet-Tree: Children’s Laureate Wales combines poetry and visual art to inspire children to make pledges for the future
Children’s Laureate Wales 2021-2023, Connor Allen, led three full days of poetry workshops at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea in March 2023. During the week, the Year 6 pupils were encouraged to think creatively about the future of their communities, their town, their Wales, and their world. Over 90 children from St. Helen’s Primary School, Blaenymaes Primary School and Clase Primary School participated in the workshops.

Connor was brilliant with the pupils, keeping them engaged and encouraging them to achieve and follow their dreams!”

Blaenymaes Primary School Acting Deputy and teacher

One of Connor Allen’s missions as Children’s Laureate Wales has been to break down barriers surrounding poetry. The workshops focused on introducing poetry as an accessible and fun artform which has the potential to be a powerful tool of self-expression. The workshops also encouraged the children to explore their own identities whilst thinking about what the future holds for them. One of the participating children mentioned how they found Connor’s poems moving and said that the poems “made me think carefully about who I can be.” Attending teachers were also happy to notice the workshop increased the children’s confidence and gave them a chance to express their thoughts and feelings about global issues.

“The children understood that poetry can be so much fun, stir emotions and can also be cool.’

Clase Primary School Deputy headteacher

The children’s poems and pledges for the future were all attached to a central art piece designed in the form of a tree. The ‘tree’ was created by Newport-based visual artist, Kate Mercer using recycled wood and cardboard. The 3D piece included a collage with the words, ‘My Future’ and ‘Fy Nyfodol’ and symbols and motifs suggesting the increasingly digital world in which we live. You can find find out more about the process of creating the artwork, by reading Kate Mercer’s blog post detailing the experience.

Feedback received from teachers indicate that the workshops succeeded in inspiring the children to use their creativity and continue writing poetry outside of the classroom and beyond the workshops with Connor.

“I’m going to go straight home and write some poems. My mum bought me a special book to write in and there is nothing in it but there will be a poem in it by the end of this evening.”

Clase Primary student

Following a short display period at the Taliesin Arts Centre, each participating school will receive a section from the tree with the children’s poems attached.

To find out more about the Children’s Laureate Wales project visit our project page.