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Who I Am - An Oracy & Performance Project by Sheffield's Poet Laureate

Mercia Learning Trust has for the past 6 months been workomg with Sheffield's Poet Laureate, Danae Wellington.

Supported by The Sheffield Grammar School Exhibition Foundation, Danae was commissioned by the Trust to work with groups of children in all seven of our schools. The project's aims were to improve the pupils' oracy skills, poetry writing skills, and performance techniques, as well as improving their confidence and self-belief.

Over the six months, as well as running workshops and assemblies in each school, Danae developed with a select group of children a powerful and moving performance to mark the beginning of our staff conference.

'Who I Am' was a collection of poetry and performance written by 22 pupils from our schools. The poetry reflected how our children see themselves, celebrating where they come from, their rich and diverse heritages, their authentic voices, and their hopes for the future.

The response to the project, and the performance, has been extremely powerful. The children involved have been inspired to develop and grow their love of poetry and performance. Their confidence has grown, and they have build lasting friendships across the schools.

The audience was blown away, and as you can see, the children received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Here is a selection of the poetry created by our children:

I am from misty mornings spent in tents,

the endless babble of my brother’s mouth.

I am from windy walks along sea swept cliffs,

my blushed red cheeks and chapped up lips.

I am from snow-soaked clothes,

and a cup of hot chocolate when I arrive home:

I was once a young girl in the wild.


I am from the smell of fresh bread pouring

into my room on school mornings,

and the loud alarm that comes calling.

I am from the chaos of my wonderful friends,

their open arms, a place where I feel safe –

I am from gentle love.

I love handbags, colourful nails and fancy sequined dresses.

I am glitz and glam,

but I’m not afraid to get my fingers greasy for

Nanie’s samosas, crunchy pakora’s,

and juicy kebab’s oozing with years of love.


Shalwar Kameez - white cloth of peace,

women adorned in Kurtai and Sharara’s – draped in traditional wear.

Beauty, gorgeous as flowers in Allah’s Garden.

My religion is my world, the precious Surah’s, the amazing mosques –

I could sit and dream all day long about the Prophets (swt) and Jannah;

especially the Quran.


How do they make me feel, you might ask?


As powerful as light -

comfortable, strong but especially appreciated.

I wish I had more time to tell you about my religion and culture,

but for now,

this is who I am!

I come from innocent childhood days,

from the park and the playground –

swings and slides that I outgrew.

I come from holidays by the beach

that got fewer as I got older,

long lost seashells scattered in hotels.

I come from fantasy books,

words washing over me;

shadows and stories and spells.

I come from mountains and memories,

pages and pages all combined

to make the book of me.


I come from a past left behind

and a future ahead.

I come from possibilities and opportunities

and many decisions to make.