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Everything moving alive to a beat: The sights and sounds of Camden’s culture inspires London Borough of Culture bid poem

Residents’ ideas of what culture means to them have helped to create an inspiring new poem by acclaimed poet Polarbear as part of our bid to be named London Borough of Culture.

Polarbear’s poem is now available in every Camden library, and a copy has also been presented to the British Library.


I see theatre at bus stops
monologues in the park
generations dovetailed
through support of the arts.
'From the Top of this Hill' by Polarbear

Read the full poem.

Inspiration for Camden’s bid poem

Over the summer, arts organisation Parrabolla captured the imagination of residents, with pop up performances around the borough featuring music, dance and a bicycle-powered cinema. The performances provided opportunities to get residents thinking about what culture means to them. Reponses were collected for our London Borough of Culture bid, along with our ongoing conversations with community groups and cultural and creative industries. Polarbear drew on these ideas for inspiration, along with his experiences of living in Camden himself.

Polarbear’s poem was inspired by residents, who arts organisation Parrabolla connected with on our estates through pop-up music and dance performances, and asked what culture meant to them.

The poem shows the creativity and potential in every part of the borough, and is a piece of the jigsaw in how we are bringing together the ideas of residents and our cultural and creative industries in our London Borough of Culture bid.

We know access to culture can open up so many opportunities for our communities, so we want to create an outstanding year of fantastic activities and events that brings culture to our streets and estates for everyone to enjoy.
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities
The British Library is delighted that this locally-created new poetry book, commissioned as part of Camden’s London Borough of Culture bid, will be added to our collections for perpetuity. Current and future generations will be able to access Polarbear’s poem that sums up Camden and its diverse cultural offer.
Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library

Get involved

Support our bid on social media by using the hashtag #CamdenIsCulture to share why you think Camden should be London Borough of Culture. If Camden has inspired you, share your poem, picture or other artwork.

You can also get involved by tweeting a photo with our #CamdenIsCulture poster

More information

Find out more about the London Borough of Culture bid on our Love Camden website.