University of Leeds collaborates to bring poetry to forefront

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Simon Armitage, a professor at the University of Leeds talks of ambitious plans for a National Poetry Centre in Leeds

By U2B Staff 

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A collaboration led by Leeds City Council, Leeds 2023, The University of Leeds and other partners have announced plans for a National Poetry Centre in Leeds, which will highlight poetry as a national art form.

This partnership led by professor of poetry at the university, Simon Armitage will mark his appointment as Poet Laureate, creating a lasting legacy to mark his decade-long tenure.

The poetry centre is said to provide a space that ‘offers an extensive poetry collection with research facilities, rehearsal and performance spaces, a friendly café, opportunities for writers to exchange ideas, and event spaces for literary prizes and hopefully accommodation for visiting writers from across the UK and all over the world.’


This project intends to develop initiatives and projects that enhance education, foster new talent and promote literature and literacy.

Armitage said that his main goal is to develop the National Poetry Centre and to bring poetry in line with other national art forms that have their own headquarters and venues, such as the National Theatre and the National Gallery.

He added that the location of the proposed centre, which is in Leeds is deal as the city is not only located centrally and accessible, but also dynamic, contemporary, future-minded, people-oriented, and committed to cultural regeneration.

Armitage also added, “Poetry is one of our most ancient and proudest artistic endeavours, steeped in tradition, history, and ritual. It’s also undergoing an incredible renaissance at present, particularly in relation to new generations of writers and performers across diverse backgrounds who have found in poetry a way of articulating their concerns and expressing their feelings.”


The vice-chancellor at the university, Sir Alan Langlands said that the university has a long history of engaging poetry and poets.

Langlands added that the university has a collection of culturally significant archives of individual poets and publishers in its Special Collections in the Brotherton Library.

He also said that the university prides itself on its literary achievements and the city has a lot to gain from this partnership with Armitage, the university students, and staff.

Commenting on this partnership, Leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake said that the partnership is committed to upholding arts and culture in the city as it is aware of its huge social and economic impact.

Chair of Leeds 2023, Ruth Pitt said that the idea of developing a National Poetry Centre is a project that will facilitate the collaboration between the university, the city and artists, performers and community groups.

Creative director of Leeds 2023, Kully Thiarai said that the centre will be open in time for the spectacular one year of culture festival that will take place in the city in 2023.