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Woolwich Speaks, London 2021

Woolwich Speaks is a community-led project commissioned by Royal Borough of Greenwich and produced by Poet in the City and RevolYOUtion. It launched the Woolwich High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, supported by Historic England.

The project celebrateses the area’s street life and exploring its past, present and future through poetry, film and public art.

Initiated as a creative response to the high street, the project connected local artists with Woolwich residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. Local poet Rasheeda Page-Muir wrote the new Woolwich Epic poem after conducting life story interviews with locals ranging from community leaders and young people to business owners.

The poem personifies the town as a woman who has seen the many diverse stories, experiences, and lives that have contributed to the area’s identity. 

ALAS created and designed a poetry trail. Brightly coloured speech bubbles, up to two metres long and installed at different heights and scales, are placed across the town in a circular route. A number of the final poetry trail locations were decided in a remote mapping workshop with members of the local community. This means the trail represents and recognises the voice and lived experience of those who attended the workshop and live in the area.

Alongside the trail is a film of the poem created by Joe Watkins of Crixus Productions with two local filmmakers, Salima Kamara and Riordan Tyler. It stars Page-Muir and Woolwich secondary school students. The film features local landmarks as well as archive footage, bringing together themes of community pride, challenges and activism.

All image credits to Stephen Burridge.