New Public Artwork Unveiled in Nelson for World Poetry Day 2024

25 March 2024

World Poetry Day has been celebrated in Nelson on Thursday 21st March with the reading and unveiling of a new poem for the town.

New Public Artwork Unveiled in Nelson for World Poetry Day 2024

This is Nelson, the arts and culture strand of the Nelson Town Deal, commissioned the work as part of PRINT, which is capturing the seasonal life of Nelson’s town centre through large scale colourful graphics across windows in the town. 

Calum Bryne, Programme and Practice, In-Situ, says,

"One of the things uncovered in our discussions with people living in Nelson is the desire for new art to be easily accessible by all. PRINT is a strand of our work which will animate public spaces around the town, brightening up walls and windows with art that reflects the people and place of Nelson. We're delighted that Ajaz's poem in the library windows will do just that - it's a great start to the project and doing this with the support of the library and Nelson Town Council on World Poetry Day has been the perfect match." 

The poem is part of a larger collection of poems written in and inspired by the town, all created by local poet Ajaz Qureshi. 

Ajaz is a British South Asian writer, teacher and artist who writes about the intersections of culture and heritage, place and community and individual and plural identity.

This is Nelson, Ajaz Qureshi reading his poetry in Nelson.

Asking questions about his hometown, Ajaz’s work for This is Nelson considers the ‘voice’ of a post-insustrial Nelson. He looks at who such a voice might belong to; the relevance of the canal, once it’s lifeblood, and whether the mills still keep the town alive.  

“Moving back to Nelson as a writer allowed me to reconnect to my hometown in a new way. Nelson is not only a place steeped in a complex industrial history but a place with a living present, with numerous voices and stories waiting to be heard.
 Over the last two years, as a resident, I've experienced the transformative power that storytelling, engagement, and action has had in shaping my individual and cultural ties to Nelson. More than a geographical connection, too, but a sense of community, duty, and belonging to the place I call home.” (Ajaz Qureshi, poet)

One of his poems, The Weaving Shuttle, has been selected and is now printed in full in a large scale installation outside Nelson Library, which was unveiled along with a book of his poetry produced by Pendle Press, in attandance by The Mayor of Pendle Councillor Brian Newman.

This is Nelson PRINT Nelson Library poet Ajaz Qureshi 3. Image credit Fully Formed Films

“The opportunity to produce a large-scale poetic display in Nelson Town Centre and a poetry pamphlet further underscores just how much poetry (art) can inform and impact a real-world place, and, indeed, perceptions of it. I look forward to see the effect of these poems on the town in the coming months". (Ajaz Qureshi, poet)

The event and installation are taking place with thanks to Nelson Library, Lancashire Cultural Services and Lancashire Libraries and Lancashire County Council.

PRINT is Part of This is Nelson, the arts and culture strand of the Nelson Town Deal

This partnership programme between In-Situ, Pendle Council, Building Bridges and Super Slow Way is taking place over the next 3 years, bringing artists together to help re-imagine Nelson; open up underused spaces; think sustainably and support ground-up community activism in the town.

Ajaz Qureshi Website:

Ajaz's Poetry published by Pendle Press: Full Nelson

Facebook: ThisIsNelson

Instagram: t_is_nelson

Twitter/X: This_Is_Nelson

Images of poet Ajaz Qureshi and the Nelson Library Poem provided by This is Nelson. Image credits Fully Formed Films.

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