Joanna Skelt - Birmingham poet laureate 2013 to 2014
Joanna write poetry for a number of years and had a lot of performance experience including combining music with poetry using aspects of drama.
She taught a workshop series on Writing Your Travels (at MAC) where much of the inspiration came from Birmingham scenes. In summer 2013, she ran a series called Writing Around Town with workshops in different settings eg a Somali restaurant and city allotment and set up a Pens and Gems group in the Jewellery Quarter. Also for MAC, she worked in Yardley to set up a writing competition and motivate readers to make the first steps into writing.
In October 2012, she received an Arts Council commission to write and perform with a poet from Sierra Leone which included improvisations with a saxophone and drums. She ran an international poetry reading group for several years.
In 2009 to 2010 Joanna was Poet in Residence and ran writing workshops for the Freedom Town project which linked Freetown and Birmingham schools and worked with musicians from Symphony Hall.
She was also commissioned to write and perform a play (in poetry) based on the work she undertook in two Leicester schools in 2007.
Joanna's first published poetry collection was Permanent Emergency. During the Laureate year, she published her second collection Connected Journeys. This collection includes work from her laureate year as well as earlier poems about the city, West Africa, love and all that comes in between and beyond.