Lead Residency BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and St. Dominic’s Priory – Joanne Clement



Joanne Clement

Joanne Clement is completing her Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Under the supervision of poets Sean O’Brien and W.N. Herbert, her AHRC Northern Bridge-funded thesis is titled ‘Poems from Xylography: Thomas Bewick and Ekphrastic Vantage Points’. Her current creative investigation responds to archival holdings of Bewick’s 18thC tale-piece engravings with poems. In 2012, Joanne was awarded the Northern Promise prize for poetry from New Writing North and most recently she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume and Bridport poetry prizes. Her poems and articles are published by the Society of Wood Engravers, Ofi Press, Forward, Butcher’s Dog and the Black Light Engine Room.

Joanne blogs at Clementyne where she has written about her dual residency with Baltic and St Dominic’s Priory.

Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers – Bernadette McAloon



Bernadette McAloon is a Creative Writing PhD student at Newcastle University researching Female Identities and Cultures in Poetry of Place. Her interests include memory trace in landscape and place; class representation and the female voice; polyphonic poetry and poetics of local archives. Her poems have appeared in Butchers Dog, Drifting Down the Lane, Mslexia, The Ofi Press and Rowing Home. She was a runner up in the Mslexia Poetry competition 2012 and winner of the Vorse Scribben section of Basil Bunting Award 2013.

Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers – Jake Campbell



Jake Campbell was born in South Shields in 1988. He has two pamphlets: The Coast Will Wait Behind You (Art Editions North, 2015) and Definitions of Distance (Red Squirrel Press, 2012). A recipient of New Writing North’s Andrew Waterhouse Award, Jake has just begun an AHRC-funded PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, where he is researching the use of the palimpsest as a model and metaphor in North-East poetries. Recent poems, articles and reviews have appeared in the likes of The Rialto, The Northern Correspondent and Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine. Fond of collaborating with artists from different disciplines, some of Jake’s poems were recently displayed at The Atkinson Gallery in Southport as part of Ghosts of the Restless Shore: Space, Place and Memory of the Sefton Coast. He blogs at: jakecampbell1988.blogspot.com

Sage Gateshead – Jason Lytollis




Jason Lytollis is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. His particular research interest is in the types of spaces used as settings in contemporary poetry. He has been inspired by the relationships between the sounds and spaces at Sage Gateshead.

He is a poet, working on a collection of poems set in the landscapes around his home in Cumbria.

Literary and Philosophical Society – Tracy Gillman




Tracy Gillman is creative arts practitioner specialising in performance and creative writing. Founded the performance arts company; Beg Borrow Steal, concentrating on new writing, devised performance and creative arts practice working closely with the Tyneside Irish Centre and the Workers Education Association.

Awarded a number of research and development grants from Arts Council England and has received bursaries and a Studentship from Newcastle University for MA and current PhD studies.

Works with Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne on main house theatre projects and with the Education and Participation Department as a director and dramaturge for Live Theatre’s award-winning projects for young people and emerging writers, including FIRST DRAFT and WRITE-UP.

As a writer: THE FENCES; exploring the effects of climate-change on a small North-East community, BRIDGET AND THE WREN; a play developed with the Irish Elders community on Tyneside, BEGGING FOR IT; performances of seven short plays by new and emerging writers.

Currently working on THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SPOONS: a narrative poem for performance exploring four intersecting lives on Tyneside in 1919 and the impact of their revolutionary activity on themselves and their communities.

Jesmond Library Writing


We built the ship with ebony and marble and pillars of diamond. We built the ship and they came in their hundreds. Down to the dock where it towered like some primeval thing.
It had taken three generations to construct. I was born on the ship’s bow under the salt sun and christened in the bay water just as my father had been. Three generations, and by the time I started at work there wasn’t much left of the thing to build. It still claimed twenty three years of my life, mind you.

I don’t remember who it was that laid the final panel or fixed the final door. My own belief is that it was a simple moment of clarity through which we were all connected — regardless of our whereabouts on the ship — in the instinctive knowledge that the deed was done.
At the time of its completion I, personally, had been scrubbing a portion of the crystalline deck along with two men, Slane and Christobel, and it was in complete unison that we had each placed our cloths down and raised our heads to one another.
Is it finished, do you think?’ said Slane.
I don’t know,’ I said. ‘What do you make of that sound?’
Really, there had been no sound to speak of, it was just that I couldn’t endorse the implications of Slane’s question.
But then, of course, the bell rang; we all knew what that meant.
Slane and Christobel got up. Slane threw his cloth over the side of the deck and took a cigar from his pocket — I believe his grandfather had purchased that cigar some years earlier; Slane had later confessed to me that he certainly did not expect to be the one who would smoke it.

The ship was built for something, but for exactly what was pure speculation. There was talk among some of the builders of a large-scale migration. But I had been working on the passenger accommodation and steerage, and I can surely say that not a single inch of the place was in the slightest bit functional. Aesthetic, they had said to me. It is all for the aesthetic. I couldn’t say how many others had been told the same. But for me, at least, I was quite aware that the ship had not a nautical mile in it.

Certainly it was the largest ship in existence. We all knew as much. And it could be nothing other than the most beautiful vessel ever sculpted. The colours of it, like some mythical deep sea wonder reeled from the ocean floor. Almost reflective, it was, but with a certain softness to the surface that alluded to the sheerness of its quality.
Once the curtains had dropped — three days after the ringing of the bell — the public began to arrive, and people started touching, which made me a little nervous at first.
They swarmed, like ants, I would say — ants bundling around some vast floating carrion. Me, Slane and Christobel stood back, gathering our legs, for we had never before stepped foot off the ship. In truth I had never once seen it in full sight and I found myself feeling inspired. We had built it.

In the end it went down, pregnant with civilian children and their mothers. We had not been around at the time, but if we had I would have endeavoured to explain that — as I mentioned before — the ship was not built with functionality in mind.
How many?’ said Slane, looking out over the bay with its myriad of damp roses bobbing in the morning current.
I didn’t answer. Though I may have known the number, or at the very least been able to hazard a guess.
Did you know?’ I said. ‘Did you know that it wouldn’t sail?’
Christobel looked at Slane, who in turn looked at me with strange eyes. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Maybe we had an idea. The materials were impractical.’ He spat into the water. ‘Did you?’
Yes,’ I said. ‘I think I was told in fewer words. But our job was only to build the thing, wasn’t it?’
Neither of them responded; I didn’t pursue an answer.

Three generations and the thing sank within a month of completion, but its construction was all we knew, so when they told us to build another, that’s just what we did.

Declan Wilk is currently studying for a Masters degree in creative writing at Newcastle University, with a strong interest in contemporary and fantasy short fiction. At present he is working on his first short story collection, which focuses on modern day society and the people within it. He hopes, in future, to go on to publication so that he may further contribute to the creative culture that resides within the city of Newcastle.

Jesmond Library

jesmond library logo

Jesmond Library was originally opened on 30th May 1963. The building itself, designed by Henry Faulkner Brown, has attracted much positive attention throughout the years. With its circular reading room nestled in the corner of St George’s Crescent, it became one of eight post-war buildings in the North East to be officially listed as being of special architectural interest.

In March 2013, Newcastle City Council confirmed its decision to close Jesmond Library, after fifty years of faithful service to the public. However, a group of local residents decided to set up a working group to fight the closure and prepare a plan to open the library on a volunteer basis. Friends of Jesmond Library is now a limited company and registered charity, and have received many generous offers of financial and volunteer support from local residents. Without this support the library would not have been able to open or could continue to operate. The doors of the library were officially reopened on the 21st September. Follow the link to visit the Jesmond Library website http://jesmondlibrary.co.uk

dec photo

Declan Wilk is currently studying for a Masters degree in creative writing at Newcastle University, with a strong interest in contemporary and fantasy short fiction. At present he is working on his first short story collection, which focuses on modern day society and the people within it. He hopes, in future, to go on to publication so that he may further contribute to the creative culture that resides within the city of Newcastle.

Follow this link to view the writing produced during the residency.


Jazz Cafe Writing

For Keith Crombie

Those notes you held, out fliering
your smoky and mirrored establishment –
half T-Bone Walker in Walker,
half T. Dan Smith in New Orleans –
thrummed scat in winds from yards.
Walking a bassline up Pink Lane,
husky stevedore of an empty dock,
better hepcat cap’n who navigates
rough seas, what ho the toon?

Jazz Noah, this is your ark: high
deco dado rails, cardboard boxes
we suspected your bed by the bar.
The flood was a drought. Cash
notes you never held or wanted to
disappearing, drowning the rest.
You lasted to see the new men
who aren’t men but heirs to where
it went, and flier them the same.

i. m. 1939-2012


Andrew Fentham is a Birmingham-born poet. He is currently studying MA Creative Writing at Newcastle University. His poems and translations have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Ireland, France and Hungary. He was awarded a New Poet Bursary by New Writing North in 2013.


Jazz Café


The refurbished Jazz Café is a vital live venue and a new daytime
Café of real quality. We welcome the whole Jazz community.
Our commitment to live events continues with the launch of a
larger more flexible venue upstairs at the Jazz Café which is also
available for hire.

Upstairs at the Jazz Café is a small unique space where you can
expect a broad range of original live events from traditional music
to the more challenging performance art.

Andy Photo

Andrew Fentham is a Birmingham-born poet. He is currently studying MA Creative Writing at Newcastle University. His poems and translations have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Ireland, France and Hungary. He was awarded a New Poet Bursary by New Writing North in 2013.

Follow this link to visit the writing produced during this residency.

RecycleYourFurniture Writing


People drift in and out. A 10 year old boy has found something interesting. A pair of African bongos made out of carved wood with goat skins stretched over the top.

“Are they for sale?” he asks his mum.

“No darling”, her attention is focused on a dining table with an extendable leaf.

“What do you think?”

“Yeah, buy it,” the boy is indulging her in the hope of getting the ball rolling. Mum wanders away, mobile to ear; giving directions to her husband who’s taken a wrong turn.

“How much are the drums?” he asks Peter while his mum’s distracted. The price is written on a playing card, the way items are tagged in here. He pauses to stroke Molly, a cross between a sheep dog and a spaniel, belonging to owners Peter and Jonathan. A short while later dad arrives with a younger brother, both are wearing football kits.

“Can we buy these?” The kid intercepts mum’s table agenda. Peter says they can have the drum for half price.

“If you work it out…” Dad turns it into a test.

“Seventeen pounds fifty” he calls his Dad’s bluff.

“You’ll have to share it with your brother”.

“No arguments; “says Mum.

I realise I may be staring, so wander away to the space next door. I’m looking for a coat stand for my son’s student flat. I have a choice between a black atomic sixties version, with orange hooks reminiscent of lipstick tubes, or a curly pine type adorned with furry granny hats. When I come back Mum and Dad have bought the dining table, and two happy boys are clutching a bongo each. Peter says he gave them a knock down price.

There is an atmosphere of bonhomie and Bohemia. You can tell from the jaunty hats and scarves of the clientele that we’re in the midst of galleries, book centres, music venues and alternative cinema. Directly overhead is New Bridge Street, just one of three soaring bridges in the Ouseburn valley. Looking across the yard I can see the criss-cross fencing of the viaduct, pale blue in the afternoon sun and behind that the concrete metro bridge. At fifteen minute intervals I hear a low rumble into a roar as the grey and yellow metro passes. Then the chugging noise of a goods train with a squeaky wheel on the mainline.

A man comes in looking for railway sleepers and buys a copper bucket – his wife is silent in navy blue. A young couple from Sunderland ask about courier costs – £15 – which they think is reasonable. They are looking for a corner unit, in two pieces, who knows why?

What are the best things about the business? For Peter it’s the returning customers, and when Jonathan comes back with a van full of stuff containing something magical. He tells me he sold a James Bond chair before I arrived for £450 – white leather G Plan, the type Dr Evil sat in stroking his cat. I’m sorry I missed it but before long I too have bought a leather chair. It’s Danish and black, a squat version of the Mastermind chair – I swing in it from side to side. I think I may have been swept along by the spirit of the bongo boy.
A man on a bike wearing a bright yellow tabard, who comes in looking for something to keep his shoes in, tells me he writes songs. A spray painter from Nissan, with a designer friend from Japan is looking for something to up-cycle. A woman who’s on her own buys a stool.

“A project?” Peter guesses correctly.

Up-cycling has been given something of a revival with programmes like the Great Design Challenge on the BBC. It is how Jonathan and Peter started out six years ago, with a group of artists. Pieces were stencilled, painted and wallpapered, much to the horror of their neighbour Al who occupies the unit next door; he’s been re-spraying cars here for 18 years. He used to tut and shake his head at their paint job, but over the years they realised it wasn’t worth the effort, and now leave that side of things to the customer.

What are people looking for? A bargain? Inspiration? A woman sits in a seventies Ercol rocking chair and says furniture was made better in her parent’s day. A dad shows his six year old daughter how a Singer Treadle Sewing machine works. She looks at it like it’s an item in a museum. “Your Gran used to have one of these” – he says. I spy a shiny pair of roller skates with red leather tops on which Jaco is etched in gold letters. It takes me right back to Christmas 1965 when Santa brought me not only a brand new bike but skates exactly like these. He’d never got it quite so right before or since.

It’s not just about gauging trends, Peter says. It’s about soul. I presumed he and Jonathan had a background in art and design, but they met working abroad in the travel industry. Peter studied journalism in Poland, and will casually drop in a poetic description of what they’re doing. He describes delivery day, for example, as “dancing with wardrobes “. He also tells me they have a magic box where they put broken furniture and it is miraculously repaired. I begin to imagine I’m in Brigadoon.

They acquire furniture from the public via their website, or from traders, and no doubt other sources that are a ‘trade secret’. They attune to fashion trends by watching US series like Madmen, which apparently used a lot of Danish design furniture, of which you will find plenty in the shop. There are also a number of Chesterfield sofas which regularly appear in American law dramas.

Over several visits I notice the displays changing, pieces washing in and out like lost cargo from other people’s lives. A fifties kitchen cabinet painted yellow with opaque sliding doors takes me back to my Mum’s kitchen in the early sixties. My brother pushed my head through one of those bobbly glass doors. Another time there’s an American tapestry rocking chair, or an enormous rustic whiskey barrel. A tandem hangs on the wall with the legs of two black mannequins astride it. A gold standard lamp in the shape of candelabra is draped with glass diamond beads. A bright blue typewriter and a copper kettle sit on an oak shelving unit.
Peter tells me about his grandmother in Lodz, the third largest city in Poland. About Pierogi, his favourite stuffed dumplings, about International Children’s Day when every child was allowed a free bus ride from one end of the city to another.

I look out to the wasteland under the rail bridges, and notice the trees are looking tired in the dusk. Older, demented. I feel tired, and wonder if I too need a refunk. I watch Peter wrestle with a white wardrobe that he needs to deliver. Oh I forgot – he calls it dancing. Candelabra and Chandeliers are left rocking in the space left behind. I decide to write a poem about it.

I have to leave by five, which is closing time. I have to or I may find a hundred years have gone by before I come back.

On the way home there are pink clouds in a turquoise sky.


Dancing with the White Wardrobe
He limbos under chandeliers
Swaying to a forgotten tune.

Swivel, heel click, Mazurka style,
Pivots his heavy partner
Through improvised pirouettes.

They slide step together
Past bookcases, bureaus, sideboards,
Settees and chests.

Dislocated from another time,
Another home, another country;
Each one could tell a story.

The room gasps;
Dishevelled candelabra gently rock
In the empty space.


Tides of objects ebb and flow
Through decades;
Through memories of people drifting in and out.

A fifties kitchen cabinet, painted yellow,
Where three year old fingers traced patterned dots
On opaque sliding doors.

A Singer Treadle Sewing machine;
Grandma had one of those,
Her whole body rippling to the rhythm of the pedal.

Sputnik style coat stands in black,
With orange lipstick hooks
Remind us of the swinging sixties – when everything was groovy.

A woman sinks into an Ercol chair
Swept along by the flotsam of other people’s lives
Washing back to the strand line.


Nicki Hornby is studying for a Creative Writing MA at Newcastle University.  She joined the course to hone script writing skills, but is embracing the opportunity of writing poems and prose.  She works as a BBC Journalist, and has made documentaries for Radio and TV. Originally from the Wirral she moved to the North East in 1986 to run a Health Food Shop.  She’s been writing on and off since Primary School, and her ten minute Radio play was broadcast on BBC Newcastle in 2005.