Voluntary Arts Scotland teamed up with the Scottish Poetry Library to create 'My Time - Poetry inspired by voluntary arts'.

Funded by Creative Scotland, this nationwide participatory project has three stages:

Stage One - an open invitation to everyone

We asked people what ‘my time’ meant to them. It could be singing in a choir, knitting with your friends, pottering in the garden, painting a beautiful view, mastering a new chord on the guitar, writing a short story . . .

We were overwhelmed by the number (and beauty!) of poetic responses. A panel of representatives from the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) and Voluntary Arts Scotland chose a selection of them to appear on this website and the SPL website - you can view these here

Many of the poems will appear in a publication, due to be published in March - and three of them will appear at this year's StAnza Festival in St Andrews.

Stage Two - pairing poets with voluntary arts groups across Scotland 

Working with St Mungo’s Mirrorball - The Glasgow Network of Poets, we paired up ten poets with the following voluntary arts groups across Scotland:

Shetland Mandolin Band
Braemar Creative Arts Festival
The Truly Terrible Orchestra, Inverness
Performance Collective Stranraer
Thistle Quilters, Edinburgh
Ricefield Chinese Cultural Centre, Glasgow
Headway creative writing group, Edinburgh
Aberdeen University Swing Dance Association
E Karika Djal, Romany band, Glasgow
Local Vocals, dementia-friendly choir, Helensburgh

Inspired by what they saw(and had a go at!), the poets wrote about the group they visited. The results of which will appear in a number of exhibitions throughout 2018 (see below).

Stage Three - exhibitions and events

StAnza - Scotland's International Poetry Festival

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Thursday 8 - Sunday 11 March 2018.

A digital exhibition featuring three of the St Mungo's Mirrorball poems, three of the open call poems, and a poem written by Samuel Tongue based on a poetry workshop we held at Paisley Arts Centre.

Get Creative Festival

Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, Saturday 17 March 2018.

As part of the Get Creative Festival, we'll be holding a live event at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, during which poets from St Mungo's Mirrorball will read out the work they created, inspired by visiting voluntary arts groups across the country (see above). Photographs from the visits will also be on display.

More exhibitions are planned for 2018 - details to follow soon!

We ran a 'My Time' poetry workshop at Paisley Arts Centre on Thursday 12 October, with award-winning poet Sam Tongue. The words and phrases 'donated' by the workshop attendees have been shaped by Sam into a poem - which will appear at StAnza and other exhibitions.

Jemma Neville, Director, Voluntary Arts Scotland said: "From oil painting to hula hooping, brass bands to embroidery, finding time for ourselves to be creative brings people together, sustains local venues and helps us make sense of the world around us. I am delighted that investment from Creative Scotland will support us in match-making poets and arts groups, so we can explore and celebrate what 'My Time' means to people."

Asif Khan, Director, Scottish Poetry Library said: “The Scottish Poetry Library welcomes Creative Scotland’s funding support for the My Time initiative. Poets will no doubt embrace the opportunity to engage with voluntary arts groups across Scotland to discover the passions and motivations that drive people to get together to create and share. We will help to promote to a wide audience the much-anticipated work that the poets produce in response to meeting with the arts groups.”

Photo credit: Chris Scott