Following our announcement of our Mega Maker Lab project, over the next few months we’re looking at the next generation of innovators. What better way to start than with poet Theresa Lola. In her new role as Young People’s Laureate for London she is helping young people reflect their experiences and create space for their aspirations.
Earlier this month, British-Nigerian poet Theresa Lola was named 2019’s Young People’s Laureate for London. She hopes to help young people “use the power and emotion of language to find confidence in their voice”.
Theresa, aged 24 from Bromley, southeast London, was a joint winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and was named Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam champion in 2017. She also read her work at the unveiling of the statue of women’s rights activist Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square.
The Young People’s Laureate for London was launched by writer development agency Spread the Word in 2016. The programme aims to increase the visibility of poetry in the capital, engage and inspire London’s young people and support their development. This year’s judging panel included celebrated poets Jacob Sam-La Rose and Joelle Taylor.
Theresa’s year-long tenure will see her facilitate four workshops around London for young people aged 13–25, as well as a Poetry Lab to nurture young talent. She hopes to “amplify and elevate voices” often dismissed as products of a demonised social media, and help them use poetry to reflect real their experiences and upbringing.
Spread the Word’s Director, Ruth Harrison, champions Theresa’s lack of fear in tackling difficult subjects with her “bold”, “dazzling and unexpected images”. The agency recognises the importance of young people having an outlet and an inspiring advocate in the current climate of political uncertainty social change.