Poetry Jukebox are #ChangingTheMessage!

They want to share beautiful, profound and life-arming words and change the words on our streets, opening hearts and minds, putting poetry to work where it belongs: everywhere, for everyone.

Poetry Jukebox is an international project founded by Ondřej Kobza, a Prague-based cultural activist focused on the animation of public space and ways of making cities more liveable for the people that live in them.

He created a steel structure, deliberately styled to bring to mind a gramophone or speaking trumpet, with a button to press for anyone to hear a poet read their own poem, anytime, free gratis and for nothing.

The first Poetry Jukebox in Ireland is located at The Crescent and was launched at the Belfast International Arts Festival in 2017 by Belfast-based poet and playwright Maria Mc Manus. Maria has a passion for bringing literature into the cityscape, so that we can encounter the beauty and imagery of words (sometimes unexpectedly) as we go about our everyday lives; in her own words;

putting literature where it belongs, everywhere, for everybody.’ 

She set up Quotidian – Word on the Street with poet Deirdre Cartmill in 2017 as a vehicle to breathe life into that ambition.

The debut curation of poems included leading lights of literature  as Eavan Boland , Padraic Fiacc , Paula Meehan, Katie Donovan, Michael Longley and Joan Newmann, in addition to important newer voices such as Mark Granier, Aifric McGlinchey Olive Broderick, Matthew Rice and Seanín Hughes. The Jukebox holds twenty audio files, and a new curations are installed regularly.

Since then, the Jukebox family has grown. Quotidian has a further two ‘touring’ jukeboxes, which can be installed in venues, streetscapes, hospitals, schools and museums. The Poetry Jukebox Czech partner, Ondřej Kobza , worked with Maria McManus as Quotidian’s artistic director to innovate and integrate features which make it more accessible for disabled people. As a former occupational therapist, Maria could clearly see that small changes to Ondřej’s original design would make an impact and improve disabled accessibility. ‘These are small but repeatable innovations which can be replicated elsewhere,’ explains Maria. ‘With the support of Belfast City Council and the Department for Communities we now have the first Jukebox in the world which integrates features for enhanced disabled access.’ 

To read more about the current curation, click here

For learn more about Poetry Jukebox, click here

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