Barnsley Museums appoint Poet in Lockdown Ian McMillan

Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan has a new title - the famous TV and radio poet has been appointed the town's Poet In Lockdown, writes Graham Walker..

He's become the poet in residence in his own home for weeks and is about to create new sonnets to keep a lasting record of how life has changed for us all staying safe inside to beat coronavirus.

Barnsley Museums has commissioned him to inspire YOU to also write about your experiences of staying safe at home.

SHARE YOUR LOCKDOWN POEMS: Upload to social media your poems, either written, photographed or performed using video and audio, with the hashtag #poetinlockdown and on Twitter tag Barnsley Museums @BarnsleyMuseums.

WATCH LIVE: Ian will join us to explain his role and how you can get involved in a special live stream on Facebook, on Saturday, April 11, at 10am - search for the hashtag #poetinlockdown or CICK HERE.

The campaign links to Barnsley Museums' Hear My Voice Programme which encourages expression through poetry and spoken word.

Ian aims to inspire people to capture some of their own ideas on the current situation and the work will be preserved to give future generations an insight into how life changed during the pandemic.

It is part of a wider Barnsley Museums campaign to continue getting art, culture and history to the town’s communities.

Poet In Lockdown Ian McMillanPoet In Lockdown Ian McMillan
Poet In Lockdown Ian McMillan

Stepping in for the towns current Poet Laureate, Eloise Unerman, who is working hard with her NHS colleagues, Ian will be creating a series of sonnets in response to the current crisis.

He plans to document the rapidly changing developments associated with the virus and the impacts they are having on individuals, communities and the world.

It begins tonight - Friday, April 10 - with Ian's first sonnet revealed on all of Barnsley Museums' digital channels, see links below, at 8pm. Others will be at the same time every evening over the Easter weekend.

From April 21, Ian’s work will be published every Tuesday and Thursday night, also at 8pm.

It will be a live update as he reflects on his own feelings and thoughts as he tries to make sense of what is happening in the world around him -pockets of poetry offer a time for contemplation as well as inspiring feelings of hope for the future.

Poet in Lockdown is one part of Barnsley Museums thought provoking and innovative digital programme that is helping to keep the borough’s communities entertained, active and inspired whilst at home.

Coun Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) said: “We really are living in unprecedented times and it is important for us to document how it is impacting on us as individuals and our communities.

"Ian’s sonnets are not only an opportunity to relax and enjoy his brilliant work but to capture this historic moment in time. We really hope that this will inspire others to do the same and find an outlet for their feelings and thoughts through the written word.”

For more information on the Barnsley Museums digital programme visit

Web: www.barnsley-museums.comFacebook: @BarnsleyMuseums On social media also remember to search for Poet In Lockdown and upload your poems, either written, photographed or performed using video and audio, using the hashtag #poetinlockdown