Welsh poet Taylor Edmonds has been announced as the new Poet in Residence for the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act puts a responsibility on public bodies, including Welsh Government, to take action that will not only benefit people today, but also people of the future. It requires policymakers to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. The legislation made Wales the first country in the world to include culture in its definition of sustainable development, placing value on the power of art to improve a person and community’s well-being.
Following the introduction of the act in 2015, Sophie Howe became the world’s first Future Generations Commissioner. Her job as the ‘guardian of the interests of future generations’ is to advise and challenge the Government and other public bodies on delivering lasting social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being. As the world marks Earth Day 2021, Taylor Edmonds, a twenty-six-year-old poet from Penarth, has been announced as Howe’s new Poet in Residence. Tasked with bringing to life Wales’ unique Well-being of Future Generations Act, Edmonds says that she wants to produce poems which are “hopeful and immersive, with a focus on joy and empowerment for Welsh communities.”
Edmonds studied creative writing at the University of Gloucester and Cardiff University, received Literature Wales and Firefly’s Rising Stars Award 2020, and is a member of Where I’m Coming From, a platform for underrepresented writers in Wales. “Writing has helped me navigate challenging times in life and given me the confidence to be secure in my voice and identity,” said Edmonds. “Poetry can be a great source of comfort and connection – it reminds us that we’re not alone.”
Edmonds’ work explores themes of womanhood, queerness, empowerment, connection, magic and folktales, and nature; she explained, “writing is powerful – for self-expression and well-being and as a way of communicating experiences and raising awareness of important issues.” The year-long collaboration with the Future Generations Commissioner will see the young poet find new ways to communicate the goals of the Act, one of which is a Wales with a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. The theme for this year is ‘Wales to the World’, highlighting the importance of the Well-being of Future Generations Act’s vision and Wales’ role in the world. Edmonds said that she is “looking forward to exploring how poetry can help create a better world for future generations at a time when we’ve been forced to think about the future in a way we never have before.”
“The Well-being of Future Generations Act offers a huge opportunity for long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations in Wales and one of those ways is through using culture as a driver for change,” said Future Generations Commissioner Howe. “Poetry has a power to make people listen and we think Taylor’s is the perfect voice to communicate with empathy and urgency some of the issues facing people in Wales.”
Taylor Edmonds is currently running an Instagram series of free, monthly ‘Writing for Joy’ workshops. To find out more about the work the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, visit the website here.
Header image: Taylor Edmonds (credit: Matt Horwood).
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