Young poets invited to take part in Wellcome Trust funded project

The Poetry Society’s Young Poets Network has teamed up with Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts to challenge young writers everywhere to respond to the language of the Human Cell Atlas through poetry.

Inspired by a poem by Vona Groarke, writers aged 25 and younger worldwide are asked to pen new poems whose sounds evolve from a single scientific word from the Human Cell Atlas project. Young people can choose any term related to human cells, from mitochondria to cilia to Golgi Apparatus, and explore the soundscape – rather than the sense – of that word.

Young people, parents and teachers can find resources, prompts and how to enter for free by 17 January 2021 here.

The writing challenge will be judged by a panel of poets and scientists, including poets Sinéad Morrissey and Theresa Muñoz, academic and curator Suzy O’Hara, and Newcastle University scientist and Human Cell Atlas public engagement lead Muzz Haniffa. Prizes will include publication on Young Poets Network and in the Human Cell Atlas zine, one-to-one mentoring with an NCLA poet, performance opportunities, inclusion in the One cell at a time touring exhibition, an exclusive Young Poets Network notebook, poetry books and up to £50 book tokens.

Human ceek cells - flat with a nucleus, dyed blue
Human cheek cells by Joseph Elsbernd, via flickr

The Human Cell Atlas is a pioneering multidisciplinary global research project, which aims to identify and understand the function of all thirty-seven trillion cells in the human body. The project involves over one thousand researchers from over fifty countries around the world, collaborating on a common goal.

One cell at a time: Bringing together communities, patients and researchers to build the Human Cell Atlas is an ambitious programme of public engagement activities funded by the Wellcome Trust. Its aim is to improve the value and trust people place in the pioneering scientific research of the Human Cell Atlas by creating opportunities for collaborations between art and science. It will involve multidisciplinary artists, Human Cell Atlas researchers and diverse communities across the UK and beyond – including this Young Poets Network challenge.

More information about the Human Cell Atlas can be found here.

Human Cell Atlas logo

1 December 2020