Virtual Open Day

University academics feature on William Blake film

University of Chichester academics Dr Dave Swan and Dr Naomi Foyle, who both specialise in English Literature and Creative Writing, have featured in a new poetry film celebrating the life and work of William Blake.

The short was created for BlakeFest 2020, hosted in memory of the renowned poet and artist. "Visions of Innocence and Experience", one of Blake’s poetry/songs collections, features lockdown readings of his poetry by a variety of influential people. 

The collection, published to watch on YouTube, is nearly an hour of orchestrated and visualised poetry in the spirit of William Blake. 

To mark the poet’s birthday, BlakeFest commissioned a film to be made in its honour. In total more than 100 artists and performers have been commissioned for the event.

BlakeFest came about to celebrate the time Blake lived locally. Its goal was to enrich the West Sussex community, encourage and present the spirit of creativity and provide entertainment through exhibitions and performances.

Watch Dr Naomi Foyle's reading on the video below at 30 minutes, 55 seconds in, and Dr Dave Swann at 40 minutes, 15 seconds.

Dr Dave Swann said: “Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Blake socialised with world renowned figures of the time, such as artist John Henry Fuseli, early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and English revolutionary Thomas Paine.”

Alex House, an English and Creative Writing student at the University, said: “It is wonderful that in the midst of confusion and uncertainty, the community has pulled together to help share and create something wonderful, originating from such a talented individual, William Blake.”

Dr Naomi Foyle added: “The University is proud to be a part of this event, bringing everyone together, especially in these hard times where communication and productivity has been so difficult. The film really gives an insight to how one can be creative especially in our current times, and inspires many to produce their own work, whether that be poetry, art or music.”

There’s more about BlakeFest 2020 at https://blakefest.co.uk. For more about English and Creative Writing courses at the University of Chichester go to www.chi.ac.uk/humanities.