RHUL Students are Keeping the Arts Alive During Lockdown Through Poetry

Abra Heritage | Student Writer


Submissions to a new poetry and art anthology are open now

With art comes expected audience. So, with a nationwide lockdown enforcing a two-metre gap between each pair of feet, how are artists keeping their work alive? I talked to RHUL’s finest poets to find out.

The Crested Tit Collective is a group of nine female poets, comprised of alumni and current students of the Poetic Practice MA at Royal Holloway. The group’s latest work, Harpies, combines feminist and ecological poetry, and was launched through Royal Holloway’s Student Opportunities Fund.

Their next work, Rewilding, is a collaborative experimental anthology based upon the theme of ecology. Expanding from just poetry, the anthology is calling for submissions of essays, ephemera, objects and art.

With until the 31st of July to submit, the group are asking for innovative and disruptive works to fill the anthology. This is a call to all of RHUL’s creatives – get making, writing and designing!

I interviewed the Collective to find out more about their plans for Rewilding and to see how they are tackling lockdown as performers and creators.


  • Have you noticed an increased interest in ecology and outside spaces because of the lockdown?

I wouldn’t say renewed but definitely refreshed! I’m very lucky to have family in the countryside which is where I’m spending the lockdown. As a born and bred Londoner, this time is definitely making me think about the value of hearing the birds, walking in fields, seeing bats… I saw a Muntjac Deer for the first time recently. I didn’t even know they existed! And I was thinking, how amazing to see a species for the very first time. How devastatingly rare that is. How that will only become a rarer phenomenon if we carry on treating the planet the way we do. – Chloe


  • As London creators working with the theme of ecology, do you have good access to outside spaces?

Because of the lockdown we have all found ourselves a lot more spread out than we were initially! We have three currently in London, two originally from London cast adrift to Kent and Milton Keynes, two in Surrey, one in Weston Super Mare, and one in Singapore! – Emma


  • How has lockdown affected your creativity? Do you feel more inclined to create, or do you feel demotivated?

The lockdown has definitely enhanced the creative rollercoaster I’ve been on. Some days I am on fire, and other days… I just want to binge Netflix series in bed with ice cream and wine. So, I would say that there is both feelings happening currently. I think it’s best to be patient with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being ‘productive’ all the time. Your downs are just as much a part of the artistic process. – Tanincia


I think Lockdown has expanded my creativity just not always in ways that I would expect. The kind of work I am creating has changed not only due to the limitations of my physical space and what I have access to but also due to the limitations of my attention and willingness to spend time on single pieces. It has definitely made me want to experiment more and see how far I can push the boundaries of what can be done in limited space. – Tese


  • Do you have any messages for the creatives of RHUL who are interested in making their own way in the arts?

Don’t be afraid the experiment with different styles and forms of writing. Allow yourself to become inspired by all forms of art and how these artists’ approach can better inform your own. Lastly, put yourself out there! Go to readings and submit to magazines that you find interesting.


With just over a month before submissions close, now is the time for Royal Holloway students to make their mark in the creative world and submit to Rewilding. For more information on the collection and to enter pieces of art and writing, visit https://www.crestedtitcollective.com/


Image source: Six of the Crested Tit Collective at an event they ran at The Poetry Café, London, in 2019. (@bristaceyhughes) 

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