Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has announced plans for a National Poetry Centre in Leeds, potentially boosting the region’s visitor and cultural economy with community, research and recreational space.
The plans are being developed by a collaboration led by Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023, the University of Leeds and other important partners.
The ambition is to provide a public space offering an extensive poetry collection with research facilities, rehearsal and performance spaces, a café, networking and event spaces, as well as the potential for visiting writers from across the UK and internationally.
The project is Simon Armitage’s response to the opportunities offered by the royal appointment of the laureateship to develop initiatives and projects that enhance education, foster new talent and promote literature and literacy.
“The serious business of finding the right site, raising the funds and creating something quite extraordinary that can welcome all our communities can now begin,” said Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council.
In addition, Mr Armitage – who is also Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds – has also been appointed as the first patron of Leeds 2023, a year-long multi-million-pound programme of arts and culture in the city.
The project will now develop through an ongoing partnership between Mr Armitage, Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023 and the University of Leeds to identify a site and secure funding.