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The Young Writers’ Talent Fund supported poet Dani Watson to undertake a placement with Isis Arts. Dani was involved in New Writing North’s pre-EU referendum project ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ which encouraged young people to respond to the prospect of the Brexit referendum.  Dani wrote a poem during this project called ‘Leave Campaign Manifesto’ which caught the eye of one of Isis Arts, who invited Dani to work with them as a trainee writer in residence on one of their projects ‘Forage’. This was a project which connected migrant and refugee groups from the West End of Newcastle to heritage sites across the North East for ‘cultural foraging’ walks.  Dani wrote creative responses to those walks as part of her menteeship and continues to work with Isis Arts as a writer in residence.

“Before my placement with ISIS Arts writing was always something I did alone, so it was great to work on a project which involved collaborating with people from many different cultures and communities. In many ways, I feel the placement has helped my grow as a writer as it has pushed me to explore different styles of writing and has enabled me to meet a lot of interesting artists along the way. I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work with ISIS Arts, who have been very supportive and encouraging of my writing and have greatly boosted my confidence in the process. Before my placement with ISIS Arts writing was always something I did alone, so it was great to work on a project which involved collaborating with people from many different cultures and communities. In many ways, I feel the placement has helped my grow as a writer as it has pushed me to explore different styles of writing and has enabled me to meet a lot of interesting artists along the way. I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work with ISIS Arts, who have been very supportive and encouraging of my writing and have greatly boosted my confidence in the process.”

Read Dani’s blog here.

Where no one speaks your language by Dani Watson

Where no one speaks your language
Around every corner is a brick wall
Built of unlearnt words and run-away verbs
At the borders of conversation
We are voices lost in translation.

To command a stranger’s language
Is like trying to write left-handed
Without it we are stranded
Throats gagged with broken grammar
Tongues tied into a stammer
To make camp in English classes
Until our mouths can match the masses.

In someone else’s language
It is easy to be branded
By those who will never know
What it is to leave a home
With no promise of another
To have a tongue that will always run back to its mother
And a language that sits in your mouth
Like a visitor in a stranger’s house.

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