Swirl of Words/Swirl of Worlds: Poetry for Hackney

by PEER in London, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £11,415

raised so far

+ est. £993.75 Gift Aid



Bring Hackney's multicultural communities together through a poetry book that celebrates the languages spoken across the borough.

by PEER in London, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 6th April 2021 we'd raised £11,070 with 247 supporters in 42 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.


Help us to raise funds to produce an extraordinary poetry book entitled, Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds consisting of around 100 poems, one for each language spoken in Hackney. Each poem will appear in its original language next to its English translation. The poetry book will be available for FREE to Hackney Library members and will be digitally accessible on PEER’s website.

Acclaimed poet and translator, Stephen Watts, has gathered together this collection of poems to create a kind of poetry map of Hackney. The final collection will include contributions from well-established names as well as lesser-known and local voices.

Hackney is one of the most multicultural boroughs in the country – over 40% of its population is ethnically diverse. At the last census, Hackney recorded a total of 88 languages spoken across the borough. This number – probably an underestimate – is amongst the highest of any borough in the country.

This ambitious publication will form part of a wider multi-platform arts programme celebrating Hackney’s ethnic diversity and exploring how language shapes cultural identity. The programme, launching in May 2021, will see Hoxton street neighbours PEER and Shoreditch Library become the hubs for a multi-media exhibition and public programme of live and virtual readings, talks and workshops. 

Featured languages include: Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bambara, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Brava (Bravanese), Bulgarian, Burmese, Catalan, Chinese, Creole/Haitian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dari, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Cypriot Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Indonesian, Swiss Italian, Italian, Japanese, Kashmiri, Kinyarwandan, Korean, Krio, Kurdish (Sorani), Lao, Latvian, Lingala, Lithuanian, Luganda, Malay, Malayalam, Maltese, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romani , Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Shona, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Soninké, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish Cypriot, Turkish, Tigrinya, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Vietnamese, Welsh, Wolof, Xhosa, Yiddish, Yoruba, isiZulu



Like most public spaces, PEER and Shoreditch Library have been temporarily closed throughout much of the pandemic. This has presented new challenges in our commitment to provide cultural opportunities at a time when creativity, wellbeing and community engagement are more important than ever. 

Despite these challenges, both organisations have continued to provide arts and culture to our communities. At PEER we have used our expansive street-facing windows to convey messages of hope and continue making high quality art accessible from Hoxton Street. We have also moved much of our public and local work online, with free talks and workshops. Shoreditch Library have also moved services online and offered click and collect options, including enabling local people to collect art activity packs produced by One of My Kind

Although the full impact of COVID-19 on Hackney’s diverse communities is not yet fully known, current data suggests ethnically diverse communities have had a greater infection rate and tragically more deaths. The current crisis is affecting the poorest and most vulnerable in society and making pre-existing inequalities worse, including inequality to access of arts and culture. 

By working together, PEER and Shoreditch Library aim to engage local communities, many of who will be among the hardest hit. This poetry publication will focus on positivity, tolerance, creative expression and equality. The project will boost public confidence and engagement with public spaces such as PEER and Shoreditch Library and will combat isolation by welcoming people back into these spaces, thus fostering and re-energising community pride, understanding and cohesion. 



PEER is an independent arts organisation that has evolved from the ground up over the past twenty years, putting down deep roots within the socially, culturally and economically diverse area of Hoxton in East London. Led by ideas and excellence, PEER embeds its activities into the local community to offer and promote the highest quality art as being part of daily life.

PEER is part of the Art Council England’s National Portfolio and strives to make a positive impact on the local environment through its exhibitions, public art and engagement programmes. We provide a platform for a wide range of emerging, mid-career and established artists, enabling them to take new risks; and work with our community and local partners to deliver programming centered on nurturing long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. This delivers exemplary initiatives such as PEER Ambassadors, providing local young people with cultural training and paid gallery experience.



Funds raised through this campaign will support the production and printing of the Swirl of Words / Swirl of Worlds poetry book. 

We are aiming to produce:

  • 3,000 paperback – available for free to Hackney library members.
  • 250 hardbacks – available as rewards through this crowd funder. 

Our fundraising goal of £15,000 will enable the design, production, printing and distribution of the books.

Every £30 donation received means we can produce and give away ten paperback copies to library users absolutely FREE. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MUST SELECT A REWARD TO RECEIVE A BOOK – Donations of the same amount do not register as selecting a reward through this crowd funding platform. 

If we reach our goal of £15,000, we hope to raise a further £5,000 that would go towards supporting the wider multi-platform public arts programme at PEER, Shoreditch Library and online.

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see our Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offered rewards

£30 or more

£30 – Receive a hardback copy of the poetry book

Enable us to produce ten free paperbacks for Hackney library members with each hardback purchased. P&P in the UK included in pledge amount.

£50 or more

£50 – Hardback poetry book & credit in the book

Receive a hardback copy of the poetry book and have your name printed in the book on the project supporters page. P&P in the UK included in pledge amount.

£100 or more

£100 – Hardback book, credit & PEER publications

Receive a hardback copy of the poetry book, have your name printed in the book on the project supporters page AND receive three further PEER Publications: Olga Jevrić monograph, Keith Coventry: Deontological Pictures and Lars Arrhenius: A-Z. P&P in the UK included in pledge amount.

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