Barnsley’s Museums Appoint ‘Poet in Lockdown’ in response to crisis

Barnsley’s very own poet and author, Ian McMillan, is taking on a very special role during the forthcoming weeks – that of ‘Poet in Lockdown’ for Barnsley.

Barnsley’s popular Museums might be closed, but they’ve appointed their very own ‘Poet in Lockdown’  as part of a wider campaign to continue getting art, culture and history to the town’s communities.

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.

The work, which initially will be released each evening over this bank holiday weekend, at 8pm each night, on the Barnsley Museums digital channels, will document the rapidly changing developments associated with the virus and the impacts they are having on individuals, communities and the world.

From 21 April, Ian’s sonnets will be released every Tuesday and Thursday night 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.

The project, commissioned by Barnsley Museums, links to the Hear My Voice Programme which encourages expression through poetry and spoken word. It is hoped that Ian’s work will inspire people to pick up a pen and capture some of their own ideas on the current situation down on paper.  This can then be captured to give future generations and insight into how life changed during this time.

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.

Cllr 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

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