Writing Workshops

Exploring the National Contemporary Art Gallery Wales collection

11 July 2024 - 22 January 2025

Oriel Davies have commissioned writers Grug Muse and Emma Beynon to work with our audiences to create poetry and creative prose in response to artworks in the National Collection.

Animated Film Artist, Gemma Green Hope has been commissioned to translate the resulting texts into animated film. The finished work will be displayed at Oriel Davies and a publication will be produced.

manual override of the alt attribute

Meet the Artists

Emma Beynon

I have been exploring the images from The National Contemporary Art Gallery for Wales with a group of poets from Newtown. Together we become a community of creative adventurers, responding in poetry to the paintings and photographs on Celf ar y Cyd: a glimpse into the many different ways of Wales.

It takes time, we are methodical in our observations. We freewrite: scribbling down everything we notice, describing the image, bringing it to life using the five senses. We remember. We imagine. We give the landscapes and people, the shapes and colour, a voice.

Writing poetry gives us a chance to look strongly, to notice and creatively respond to the artist’s narrative and process. It is a collective deep dive that generates discussion: questions and revelations. Each poem written within the group is strikingly different but all inspired by that moment when we are together, exploring the same image.

Emma Beynon

Grug Muse

As I look through the ‘Celf ar y Cyd’ collection, I am searching for unexpected links or pieces that can be placed together in interesting dialogues. What happens if we place a beautiful picture of a pool of water with an image of an ugly industrial landscape? What are the themes or ideas that connect them? Through these writing workshops, we are listening and contributing to the conversations that are happening between the art works.

Grug Muse

Upcoming Writing Workshops

Workshops will run from 10.30am-1pm and hot drinks will be available to purchase from Caffi Davies Cafe.

Join Grug for Welsh language based writing workshops:

Friday 13 September

Friday 11 October

More dates TBC

Join Emma for English writing workshops:

Wednesday 4 and 18 September

Wednesday 9 and 23 October

Wednesday 6 and 20 November

Wednesday 4 and 11 December

Wednesday 8 and 22 January


Writing poetry in response to a painting is entirely new to me. I found it quite daunting at first but being part of a merry group carries you along. Nevertheless it is quite demanding… I had a painting of a hillside with very little happening in it; nothing came; I took it home and imagined skylarks in it and wrote the first line:

“Oh! to fly through the music of the sky, singing”.

By the end my words had become birds and the poem a cloud. Quite honestly, I couldn’t have wished for more. No one can take this away from you.

- Participant Feedback, 2024


Part of a poem by Dewi Roberts, written in response to Polluted pool at Maindee by Jack Crabtree

Polluted pool at Maindee | Artwork (celfarycyd.wales)

Yn y wyneb – y meniscws

Er mor eithriadol o denau a bregus yw’r haen o wyneb neu’r meniscws, mae bywyd yma hefyd fel wyau mathau o wybed. Ffilm o fywyd sydd yma.

Ar waelod y wyneb

Yn hongian yn amyneddgar o waelod y wyneb mae cychwr sy’n aros am damaid o fwyd – treulia hwn llawer o’i fywyd ar ei gefn gan nofio am yn ôl.

Poem by Keith Roberts, written in response to Bedtime by Howard Hodgkin

Bedtime | Artwork (celfarycyd.wales)

Where does your frame end

and the picture begin?

As you drift off

to the chaotic dreamscapes.

Maybe you never had a frame,

dreams don’t.

They don't need them.

Tickets Venue Info Ticket Info
Grug Muse - Block of Welsh Language Workshops £0.00 PP*

*Per Person

The gallery is open:

Tuesday - Saturday 10-4

Cafe closes at 3

Except for special events

Closed bank holidays

Most events at Oriel Davies are free to attend but we suggest making a voluntary donation here to support our continuing work delivering accessible workshops, events, activities and projects.