Poet in residence at Brunel’s SS Great Britain

31 October 2019


31 October 2019


As part of this year’s Afrika Eye festival, Brunel’s SS Great Britain will be hosting writer and performance poet, Saili Katebe, for a week-long residency - he has even spent a night on board the ship.

To engage with the history of the ship, specifically the experiences of emigration and transition which she represents, Saili Katebe will be performing around the site from Monday 4 November 2019, culminating in an evening featuring spoken word and dance performance on board on Thursday 7 November 2019. In advance of his residency, Saili has already spent a night on board, as the world-famous ship hosted its first sleepovers in a century.

Commenting on his night on board, Saili said:

“My night on the ship was great. Every time I visit there is something new that comes to life, and more questions and directions to explore present themselves. There was something special about wandering the SS Great Britain at night and sleeping beside the hum of the ship. It definitely adds to the excitement for the residency and the stories, poems and songs hidden on board.”

Kate Rambridge, Head of Interpretation at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, said:

“Welcoming Saili as the SS Great Britain’s first poet in residence feels immensely appropriate. During long ocean voyages the ship was a kind of crucible for creative talent, where passengers wrote and performed poetry, drama and song on board. We’re delighted that Saili will renew this dimension of the ship’s life during his week here. And we’re really looking forward to discovering how the partnership between Boat Poets and the Afrika Eye festival will add new perspectives to the way we tell stories about Bristol’s oldest ship.”

Saili Katebe is a Wiltshire based writer, workshop facilitator and performance poet. Usually writing under the pen name “The Blissful Nomad” he is a keen explorer of the possibilities that language and arts have to offer. In love with rhythm and rhyme he uses the page and the stage to share his exploration of the lived experience through language and story.

Included in the ticket price, pop up poetry will be performed on Monday 4 November between 1-2pm. A free poetry session is also available on Wednesday 6 November 1-2pm, where visitors are encouraged to bring lunch. On Thursday 7 November, Brunel’s SS Great Britain will host a ‘Voices of Africa’ night of site-specific spoken word, dance and poetry.

Afrika Eye is teaming up with talent development programme Boat Poets and Bristol based spoken word organisation Raise The Bar to bring some of the hottest spoken word artists from the UK and beyond, who will be responding to the theme Voices Of Africa.


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