Let's hear it for the mechanics - with a poetry competition
A conference is being held to celebrate 200 years of Mechanics’ Institutes worldwide – and a poetry competition is being organised as part of the celebrations.
On 16 October 1821, the world’s first mechanics institute was inaugurated as the Edinburgh School of Arts. To celebrate this event, the direct descendant institution of the Edinburgh School of Arts – Heriot-Watt University – is hosting a conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the mechanics’ institute movement.
The long-established Mechanics’ Institute in Marsden, pictured, has been the home of Marsden Write Out Loud open-floor poetry group for a number of years, until the pandemic intervened. It has also hosted numerous poetry launches over the years. The poet laureate - Marsden's own Simon Armitage - launched his Stanza Stones Trail there. Marsden's Mechanics' Institute is also mentioned in more than one poem by him.
The competition for poems on the theme of the conference comes with prizes of £300 (1st), £150 (2nd) and £50 (3rd). Poems should be previously unpublished, there is a limit of 40 lines and “any poetic structure” can be submitted. The deadline is 20 August. More details