InTents: Schools' Peace Camp

Artichoke worked with over 400 children and young people, from the Isle of Skye to the tip of Cornwall, as part of the InTents education project linked to Peace Camp. Facilitated by some of the UK’s most outstanding artist-educators, groups of students at each participating school chose a love-related theme around which they wrote poems and made immersive art installations.

Each school was sent a bell tent and small display of books of love poetry, textiles and installation art - part sponsored by Faber and Faber and Penguin, and chosen by artists and writers working on the project - to inspire students and teachers and to keep as valuable additions to their libraries.

Inspired by the themes of love, language and landscape, the children and young people  produced a series of highly original poems and individual artworks to be displayed in their bell tents. From love poems embroidered and cross-stitched onto placards in the style of demonstration banners to glass bottles collaged with love messages accompanied by a lost at sea soundscape, the work produced represents a fascinating portrait of the lives and loves of young people across the UK in 2012.

The schools' Peace Camp tents went on public exhibition in venues and festivals local to the schools throughout the summer. All the tents then traveled to the South Bank in London on 4th October 2012 where they were displayed together along the riverside as part of National Poetry Day celebrations.

Exhibition Dates:

  • June 27 – July 1, London’s Southbank as part of Poetry Parnassus, behind Queen Elizabeth Hall (La Sainte Union school)
  • July 13 – August 10, Foyer, Portree High School, Isle of Skye, Scotland
  • July 13 – 24, The Alnwick Garden, near the Tree House (Duchess’s Community High School)
  • July 19 – August 30, Cloud Chamber, Eden Project, Cornwall (Hayle Community School) 
  • August 4 – 11, Eisteddfod, Vale of Galmorgan (Amwlch Secondary School) 
  • August 11, Skye Agricultural Show, Isle of Skye, Scotland (Portree High School) 
  • August 16 – 20, Roundhouse, London (Haverstock School) 
  • Mid August (date to be confirmed) National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, (Amwlch Secondary School) ) 
  • Mid September (date to be confirmed) National Slate Museum, Llanberis, Wales (Amwlch Secondary School) 
  • October 4, 1pm – 6pm, Various sites along the Southbank as part of National Poetry Day (All schools) 

For further information about the project please contact


Participating Schools, Artists, and Poets

Acland Burghley School, London

Protest My Love

Artist: Davina Drummond
Poet: Jacob Sam La-Rose

A series of textile placards, each protesting the importance of Love through individual love poems embroidered and cross-stitched onto the placards, displayed inside the tent as if they have just been used in a demonstration. Accompanied by a recorded soundscape of students reading their poetry to the background of the sounds of protest marches.

Students aged 13 and 14 years old worked with the poet Jacob Sam La Rose over three workshops, to write poems based on the theme of PROTEST MY LOVE. You can read the poems here.


Created with flickr slideshow.

The Duchess Community High School, Northumberland

Love is in the Air

Artists: Bethan Maddocks & Verity Quinn
Poet: Ira Lightman

Tent filled with multi-coloured, helium balloons with giant text-covered, interactive fabric lockets suspended from the balloons, each hiding a poetic secret. This is love poetry at its most honest, exploding the myth of ‘happily ever after’ and presenting love as it is, with all it’s everyday annoyances!

Students aged 13 & 14 years old at The Duchess High School in Alnmouth, Northumberland worked with the poet Ira Lightman, over three workshops, to learn how to write about love and experiment with using text visually.

Ira led the students through exercises which aimed to introduce the idea of love poetry in a fun and accessible way. These included: writing love poems to household objects and hobbies; writing short 2 min screenplays setting Romeo and Juliet in the modern period; collaging song lyrics about love into a surreal double column poem (see photo below); and finally creating ‘envelope’ love poems on the theme of revealing love - love poems developed from the initials of a loved one expanding into poems with secret messages inside. You can read some examples of the poems to household objects here and take a look at the envelope poems here.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Portree High School, Isle of Skye

'and my love is.... a birch, a hazel, a straight, slender young rowan'
(Sorley Maclean)

Artist: Caroline Dear
Poet: Pàdraig MacAoidh

An installation representing love as a physical force with the power to transform objects in the natural world. Incorporating peat covered poetry panels. love tokens made out of staffs from trees native to Skye and ropes entwined with poetry made with local grasses, rushes and moss.

Students aged 13 and 14 years old worked with the poet Dr Pàdraig MacAoidh over three workshops, to discuss and write poetry about love as a physical force with the power to transform objects in the natural world. You can read their poems, in English and Gaelic, here.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Uig Primary School, Isle of Lewis

Poet: Ian Stephen
Love poetry workshops with pupils from P4 – P7 on the theme of “The Stranding".

Ian retold the story of the stranding on Boreray. A group of men, left to do some work on the island 5 miles from Hirta, St Kilda, are stranded when the village boat is wrecked. The islanders find ways of communicating from one island to the other, across the open sea.

The story was stopped at various points. Then Ian pretended to interview each pupil, for radio. Each was asked to assume the persona of a person thinking of a loved one, separated by sea. Each pupil stated their imagined name and age and their relationship to the stranded person; what was particular about him or her, what they missed most.

Then the pupils wrote about the person they were missing – real or imagined.
The writing was to be kept brief, with every word counting, like the words in a text message you are paying for. Once a story was written, the pupils were asked to look for any words which did not matter, and for any details which would make the person they were describing more unique.

Students aged between 8 and 12 years old worked with the poet Ian Stephen to develop their own love poetry based on the folk tale of the stranding on Boreray. You can read their poems here.

Hayle Community School, Cornwall

A Drop in the Ocean

Artist: Lucy Willow
Poet: Phil Bowen

Responding to the theme of “the vastness of the ocean and of love”, students created an installation of messages of love collaged onto glass bottles and displayed as if washed into the tent by the tide. Accompanied by a lost at sea soundtrack of the students reading their poems to the sounds of the ocean.

Students aged 13 and 14 years old worked with the poet Phil Bowen over three workshops, to write evocative poems appealling to all the senses, dedicated to the ones they love. You can read the poems here.


Created with flickr slideshow.

La Sainte Union School, London

Home is where the heart is

Artist: Katherine May
Poet: Yemisi Blake

Students here explored the love and attachment to objects we have as children, and recreated memories of their childhood homes, including a lego man, ice-cream cone, rain cloud and an Irish potato!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Haverstock School, London

A tangled web we weave

Artist: Lara Hailey
Poet: Laura Dockrill

An installation inspired by Tibetan prayer flags, hung from the ceiling and walls of the tent to represent the tangled web of romantic love, incorporating photography, print, text and stitch. A soundscape of whispered love poetry binds the whole piece together.

Students aged 13 and 14 years old worked with the poet Laura Dockrill over three workshops, to write poems based on the theme of LOVE IS COMPLICATED. You can read the poems here.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch, Anglesey

Artist: Cefyn Burgess
Poet: Mei Mac

Students here explored the ways in which history and tradition inform our ideas of love. They illustrated panels of iconic Anglesey textiles with stitched lines of their own love poetry and imagery inspired by romantic slate carvings found in cottages across North Wales. Slate tiles are included in the installation to allow viewers to contribute their own words of love to the piece.

Students aged 13 & 14 at Syr Thomas Jones School in Amwlch, North Wales worked with the poet Mei Mac over three workshops to explore the ways in which history and tradition inform our ideas of love. The looked at how the idea of romantic love has changed from generation to generation, and discussed their own observations, thoughts and experiences of love, which they turned into beautifully crafted poems in Welsh and English. You can read the poems here.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Bracoden School, Aberdeenshire

Love poetry workshop with Ken Cockburn. Info to follow

Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry-Londonderry

Love poetry workshop with Moyra Donaldson. Info to follow.

InTents Student Soundscapes

Three schools have created soundscapes of their poetry to feature in their tents. Listen here.

Would you like to get your students involved?

Here are a few ideas aimed at Key Stages 2 & 3 to help you get started. Don't forget, you can also visit the Take Part section for other ways to get involved.

Find out more

InTents Schools' Peace Camp is made possible by the additional support of:

Penguin Books

The John S Cohen Foundation

Clore Duffield Foundation

Coats Foundation

Literature Wales

The Mercers' Company

The Leathersellers’ Company

We thank them for their support.

“Love is”: Lines from poetry produced by year 9 students in Haverstock school, London working with the poet Laura Dockrill

I smelt you from miles away, your smell fills me up and makes my stomach warm

Love is confusing, it's kind of like math; pointless and complicated.

Love isn't like fairytales

Love can end when the lights are turned off in your world and it's hard to turn them back on again.

Love is when you’re being loyal but when it's lost it's like scrunched up foil.

You’re confused like that feeling you get when you’re unable to tie your shoe.

Love is French

Love is about giving time

If love is so delicate why do we grab it with both hands?

That wall made up with guilt, across your heart

Love needs to be nursed

Your heart sinks faster than the Titanic

Love is like snow

Hold it lightly

Hold it too tight and it's crumpled, broken, in pieces, gone.

Love makes you, you

I had swagger

But we didn't fit together like ribs and steak

The way you memorise their smell

Love is a memory no one can steal

Love is like a maze

Heartache is a broken soul that will never be fixed

Dear heart, please stop getting involved in everything, your job is to pump blood, that's it.

You turn on my bedroom light.