Poet in the City and Hounslow Council are developing a creative archive recording the ways in which the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted local people in the borough. The purpose of the project is to create a record of the diverse ways this extraordinary time has affected local people, build awareness and empathy across communities and shine a light on the grassroots initiatives that have embedded crucial support networks during this time.
In collaboration with local residents and partners, the stories, pictures and community responses to the pandemic are being captured to ensure that this moment will not be lost, and critically, that voices that may otherwise go unheard are preserved.

During the summer of 2020, commissioned poets Quddous Ahmed, Daljit Nagra and Momtaza Mehri conducted interviews, conversations and workshops with local people ranging from local business owners, food bank volunteers, care providers, key workers and service users, community leaders, public health officers, charities, religious leaders and many more to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted daily lives. Alongside this work, local photographer, Sadia Barlow Photography captured the unprecedented scenes lockdown brought to local areas.

This work will culminate in the creation of zine, brought together by illustrator and designer Raj Dhunna. The zine will be distributed physically and digitally across Hounslow in 2021.

Artist biographies

Quddous Ahmed is a Hounslow born self-taught artist starting as a breakdancer while attending Lampton School. He went on to expand his craft by publishing his first poetry compilation "Basking in the Light" in 2018, and has subsequently published books on self-development. Since then He's developed his artistry through music production and videography. Quddous is the founder and director of Poetical Word- a monthly open mic and platform for poets to be recognised on the London poetry scene. Quddous has also taken the power of the spoken word and founded Hounslow Soup Kitchen; a local homelessness and food poverty charity.

Momtaza Mehri is a prize-winning poet and independent researcher. Her work has appeared in Granta, Artforum, The Guardian, BOMB Magazine, and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Open Space. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published in 2019.

Daljit Nagra's four poetry collections, all with Faber & Faber, have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Book, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award, and been shortlisted for the Costa Prize and twice for the TS Eliot Prize. Daljit is a PBS New Generation Poet whose poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the LRB and the TLS, and his journalism in the FT and The Guardian. The inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra, he presents the weekly Poetry Extra, and serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, and teaches at Brunel University London.