“To change the conversation, we have to change who is part of it”

This is the North – A People’s Powerhouse Convention Poem

On the 19 November 2019, we held our third annual People’s Powerhouse Convention in Sunderland. It was a fantastic day filled with celebration, collaboration and learning.

We were joined by our wonderful host; stand up poet Dr Kate Fox. As well as hosting the event Kate spent the day capturing some of what we heard into a poem which she performed at the end of the Convention.

The poem titled ‘This is the North’ brilliantly documents the day we shared in Sunderland. For those who attended it is fantastic reminder of the conversations, ideas and sense of purpose that we shared, and for those who couldn’t make the event a great way to experience what happened.

This is the North

People’s Powerhouse Convention Poem
19th November 2019, Kate Fox

Why here? Why now?
no one else will do it for us

it’s time to descale the kettle
get on our mettle

about how Northerners die twelve years earlier
about the wealth and funding gap

about how Northern passion and pride
is shared in a thousand rooms like this
where we can feel left behind

but how can we be left behind
when we are all right here?

Ready to share,
ready to put bread-object based differences
in the past,
move beyond the War of the Roses,

follow connections,
follow our noses


we are developing the North slow and fast
in a photography dark room
we’re unpacking it from lunch bags
we’re modelling it in reality, and virtually,
we’re feeling the warm breath of it

we’re writing it on banners,
into a new font, old-style,
we’re letter pressing on new type,
we’re fitting it into the hype

we’re making it into a new currency,
we’re paying it fairly,
we’re sharing it out

we’re shaping our dissent into a shout
and keeping things decent,
we’re resisting together.

We’re hearing a new song
we’re cracking on,
we’re seeing it on TV

we’re chucking tennis balls in a new way,
we’re giving it a say,
we’re hearing different voices
and ones that are like our own,
we’re cutting the crap, battling the bullshit,
we’re finding our powers.

We’re forming a new community,
we’re divided and connected
we are unrepresented and we’re reflected.
we’re anticipating the past and the future-
but know they’re both unexpected.

we’re amplifying our achievements
through a microphone

we’re studying it as if it is revision.
we’re co designing it,
we’re doing it better together
we could do it alone,
we’re healing divisions.

We’re sending it a postcard to the future
lining up some invitations
we’re signing it up to a charter
we’re carrying it proudly,
we’re singing it as a Nasheed choir,
increasingly confident and loudly.

We’re talking about how we’ll get it home
and share its spirit in new collaborations
we’re tucking it in our wallets and bags
nicking one last Celebration.

We’re texting it home
we’re telling it goodbye
we’re taking it out the door
we’ve given it a platform
we’re carrying it in our Northern souls and hearts
we’ve told it in our stories,
embodied it in our values
we’ve helped it make new starts.

We’ve given it permission
reminded it why we’re here,
we’ve given it true encounters with new people,
we’ll take it with us on the bus
and in the car,
we’ll keep it near,
we’ll proclaim it far.

This is the North-
we’ll bring it all to Blackpool-
see you there next year.

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* These blogs are a collection of thoughts and opinions from people living or working in the North. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the People's Powerhouse.




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