Poet in the City commissions celebrated poets and film-maker to create vibrant visual soundscapes shaped by the histories, stories and experiences of different communities within the Smithfield area.

In an area of the city so dense with history, what happens when we peel back the layers of city life to reveal the stories between its streets?

This Summer we invite you to join us in venturing through the bustling maze of metropolitan life to find the interweaving worlds of London’s famous Smithfield Market. We’ve invited four artists to roam the streets of the Smithfield area, immersing themselves in the revolving microcosms of daily life that exist within its boundaries. From the hustle and bustle of the market traders at first light, till the last revellers fall out the clubs at the end of the night, our artists will be sliding through the parallel layers of living that exist simultaneously, exploring, engaging and animating its spaces through poetry, film and performance.

 Celebrated poets Murray Lachlan Young, Imtiaz Dharker and Joshua Idehen are working with film-maker Charlotte Ginsborg to create three short films exploring different aspects of the local community: community life, nightlife and architecture. The films will capture the artist’s findings as ‘poetic journalists’ charting their conversations with local residents and workers, their experiences poetry busking in community spaces, and a roundtable discussion involving key local stakeholders, questioning place, identity and the changing face of culture in the City of London. The films are to be narrated by newly commissioned poems created by the poets, shaped by the insights and experiences of the Smithfield community.


About our Artists:

Murray Lachlan Young will be exploring Community Life. He will be working with hospitals, community centres, pubs and libraries to delve into different pockets of community within the area.

Murray Lachlan Young’s poetry career began in the underground poetry/cabaret nights of mid-nineties London. Word of his unique style of writing and performing soon spread, and he was signed by EMI in a recording deal that saw him dubbed, for a while, the ‘Million Pound Poet’. He has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Radio 5 Live and Test Match Special. Since 2011 Murray has been resident poet at BBC Radio 6 Music and has collaborated with artists including Morcheeba

Joshua Idehen will be focusing on Nightlife. He will be talking to bartenders, bouncers, toilet attendants, promoters and ravers from local nightclubs to get a flavour of how the atmosphere changes after nightfall.

Joshua Idehen is a poet, musician, workshop facilitator and founder of poetry/music magazine Poejazzi. Josh has performed at Fabric alongside electro-dub outfit LV and is the frontman of ‘fro funk band Benin City. The death of London nightclubs and celebrating nightlife culture features heavily in his work.

Imtiaz Dharker will investigate Architecture. She will be conversing with market traders, architects, archaeologists and landscapers to explore the impact of architecture on workers and residents in the area over time.

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. She lives in Barbican and has written extensively about the City of London and identity politics and has a strong interest in heritage and place. Dharker’s work is on the British GCSE and A Level syllabus and she is a fellow of the royal society of literature.

Charlotte Ginsborg will be accompanying all three poets on their journeys, using her adept cinematic eye to encapsulate interviews, events and experiences through film, creating three short films that capture and frame the new poetry created from the stories of the Smithfield area.

Charlotte is a London based filmmaker. Her work interweaves documentary and fiction to depict people’s experiences of the city and relationship to their creativity. Her films have been commissioned by Film London, Channel 4, and the UNHRC, and have been screened widely including the Pompidou Centre, the BFI, Walker Arts Centre, and the Serpentine Gallery. Her most recent film 22:22 premiered at the London Film Festival in 2017.


About Culture Mile:

Culture Mile is an initiative, which aims to transform the north-west corner of the Square Mile from Farringdon to Moorgate. It is led by a partnership of the City of London Corporation, the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London.