2021 Programme coming soon

Of Earth and Sky

Go BIG with your words of inspiration and hope as HUGE letters hit the streets of Blackburn and Darwen.

This Spring, Of Earth And Sky, by the artist Luke Jerram and poet, Hafsah Aneela Bashir, will launch our 2021 National Festival of Making programme. The installation will bring poetry – written in metre-high letters, sprayed onto grass, posted onto buildings and hosted on digital screens – to the streets, parks and waterways of Blackburn and Darwen.

What’s more, you have the opportunity to see your words displayed for all to see.

Getting involved is simple. Just think of your own original short poem, or use one which you have already written, and submit it in the online form below for it to be considered. The deadline for entries is Midnight Sunday 11th April 2021.

Submitting your poetry


People from, or with a connection to, Lancashire – Whether you’re young or old, experienced wordsmith or poetry newbie, whatever your background, we want to hear from you!

Poems can be of any length and any theme, but a few suggestions from us include: making, craft, nature, community, mental health and wellbeing, the time of year/seasons, time, reflection, home and belonging, new beginnings.

Poems must be your own, original work.

For more tips and conditions, and to submit your poem, click the button below:

For alternative forms of submission please call 07917 275767

About the project


Devised by artist Luke Jerram, Of Earth And Sky will see 25 locations in Blackburn and Darwen overtaken by a giant-size poetry trail, with the aim of encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors, reflect on the past and look to the future. 

The  project will see a collaboration with poet Hafsah Aneela Bashir, whose Poetry Health Service launched during the UK’s first lockdown, delivers personalised, easy access poetry experiences to online users. A ‘tool for connection and healing’ the service has provided comfort during times of widespread isolation and anxiety.

Poetry submissions will be judged by Hafsah, and one lucky winner’s words will be stencilled in a public place in Blackburn or Darwen, alongside poets from all over the world who have previously submitted to Poetry Health Service. A curated selection of your submissions will be hosted on digital displays throughout the town.

Deadline for all submissions: Midnight Sunday 11th April

About the Artists

Hafsah Aneela Bashir

Hafsah Aneela Bashir is a Manchester-based poet, playwright & performer originally from East London. Founder and co-director of Outside The Frame Arts, she is passionate about championing voices outside the mainstream, challenging the gatekeepers of knowledge and increasing diverse representation within the arts.

Winner of the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019, she is an Associate Artist with The Poetry Exchange, Associate Artist with Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Supported Artist at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Mcr. Her debut poetry collection The Celox And The Clot is published by Burning Eye Books. She has worked creatively with Manchester International Festival, Ballet Black Ldn, HOME Theatre Mcr, Manchester Literature Festival, ANU Productions Irl and the Imperial War Museum. She is currently writing the libretto for The Bridge Between Breaths, a FormidAbility & Tete a Tete festival commission exploring Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade and is founder and Creative Director of the recently launched, Poetry Health Service – a free service providing poetry panaceas as a tool for connection and healing with over 80 contributors.


Poetry Health Service

Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in the UK but working internationally since 1997, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the world. He is now known globally for his innovative arts practice and large scale public artworks.

With many of his artworks in permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Wellcome Collection in London, he also tours his art installations to art festivals and museums. Working with some of the most established cultural organisations to create his artworks, in 2019 alone, he had 117 exhibitions in 22 different countries around the world. In 2020 was given an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bristol, made an Honorary Academician of the RWA and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Funders and Partners

Of Earth and Sky was originally commissioned by the Gloucester Culture Trust

Poetry Health Service was originally commissioned by Home Mcr & Oldham Coliseum

The project in Lancashire has been made possible by funding and partnership support from Arts Council England, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Super Slow Way, Graham & Brown and Blackburn Rovers Football Club.



2019 Trusts & Foundations

The National Festival Of Making Delivery Team

The National Festival of Making is supported with funding from Arts Council England and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

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