Lines of poetry will light up above a redeveloped gateway to the city, as part of a new piece of art which celebrates Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature status.

And members of the public can put forward suggestions for words or phrases from favourite poems which could be used in the installation, commissioned by Nottingham City Council.

The permanent artwork, called Line of Light, will be installed under the arch of the tram bridge over Station Street as part of a project to further develop the city’s cultural offer.

This project will enhance an area of the city which is currently being redeveloped thanks to the pedestrianisation of Station Street, and builds on the regeneration of the area around Nottingham Station, transforming the entrance to the city for people arriving by train and tram.

Local artist Jo Fairfax was selected through a competitive process and he is now working to realise his artistic concept: this new installation will display one line poems of up to five words that will change on a daily basis over the course of a year. The line of poetry will be projected on the bridge arch, along with coloured lighting above which will be animated by trams passing overhead.

The new installation will help provide a sense of place, creating an intriguing and vibrant atmosphere in this area of the city. The installation also celebrates Nottingham’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature, and quotes from work by local Nottingham authors and poets will be displayed alongside quotes from other creative UNESCO cities throughout the year.

Members of the public are invited to suggest a line of poetry up to five words long to be displayed as part of Line of Light. People can submit a line of poetry or phrase which is an original piece of writing they have produced or a line from a poem by a favourite Nottinghamshire writer.

Suggestions should be submitted to: by 5 May.
1. If quoting a published piece of work, please reference this by including the author and full title of the publication; use of this will be subject to copyright agreement.
2. If submitting an original piece of writing, agreement must be given that Nottingham City Council has the right to use the work in this installation and on any project specific social media platforms – the author will be credited for their contribution.
3. People are welcome to submit a longer poem from which the artist, Jo Fairfax, can select a line to be included in the installation.

The City Council has been working closely on this cultural project with its partners at Nottingham BID, Experience Nottinghamshire and The Creative Quarter to enhance the city centre, making Nottingham a great place to live, work and visit.

Line of Light is anticipated to be installed by autumn this year.

Councillor Cat Arnold, Executive Assistant for Leisure and Culture, said: “Jo Fairfax has developed an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept to illuminate an area of the city that is benefiting from significant investment and regeneration. I encourage local people to submit suggestions for lines of poetry to be displayed – your words could be up in lights!”

Artist Jo Fairfax said: “The projected short poems in light are the heart of this project. I want to celebrate Nottingham successfully being awarded the prestigious City of Literature status by UNESCO. Nottingham has such a rich literary heritage and vibrant present that it seems a great opportunity to include words as a central component of this commission.

“We aim to have 365 short poems (up to five words) and one will be chosen at random each night by the integrated software and projected onto the Station Street bridge wall in the evenings.

“There is something magical about words and there is something magical about light. Combining the two offers a great opportunity to create depth charges for the imagination for people as they walk under the bridge in the evening. Each night a new poem will be projected and I love the idea that it is a gift for the soul.”