INN CROWD is a unique arts project that helps reinforce pubs as central to rural community life. Since 2016 INN CROWD has supported rural pubs across the South East and East of England to host exciting and inspiring spoken word, poetry and storytelling performances in their pubs, reaching and engaging with a wide range of new audiences. In 2019 with the award of a grant from Arts Council England, the project was rolled out nationally, artists commissioned, and tours planned to pubs, cafes, restaurants, breweries and bottle shops across the UK.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the project partners were determined to continue to support artists, pubs and communities in a time of great uncertainty, looking for creative new ways to continue the project and to engage communities in shared cultural experiences. INN CROWD Residencies invited applications from artists to become remote writers in residence, with the aim of pairing artists with a selection of INN CROWD pubs and creating a new work for members of that community.

The response was overwhelming with a huge number of exciting applications and pubs across the country keen to be involved. Nine artists have been selected and each project is unique, centred around the pub and its regulars and wider community. All the projects have elements of interaction between the artist and local people by phone, email, social media or post, encouraging contributions of lines for new poems, stories, memories, thoughts, reflections and feelings. These will be woven together in different forms in each project to create a legacy including audio dramas, poem postcards, songs, newspapers, poems and artwork for display inside and outside the pub, illustrated story maps and a wooden plaque.

While each project is different, all have common themes of bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to create something new. The residences will bring the pub and poetry into people’s homes, and then into the pubs as they begin to reopen, celebrating community, creativity, and the pub as the hub.

Check back soon for more information on these exciting projects!