Poems in the Air Launch with Simon Armitage.

On Wednesday we were at Haughton Castle in the Tyne Valley to launch our new mobile app, Poems in the Air. The app was created in collaboration with Northumberland National Park and acclaimed poet Simon Armitage.

The app is part of Northumberland National Park’s Sill Arts Programme. Taking inspiration from hidden gems in the park, Simon has written six new poems. He spent time with park rangers at their favourite places. Getting off the beaten track and exploring some of the park’s lesser-known landmarks.

It was a unique challenge building Poems in the Air and, as far as we’re aware, something that hasn’t been done before. Think Pokemon Go with more spectacular surroundings and a bit of poetry.

Simon’s concept is poems that are not written down, but exist within the landscape. Listening to a poem in a place, rather than reading a poem and imagining a place.

Matching Simon’s vision meant devising a method of delivering poems to users as they find locations. It was also important that the app didn’t leave any visible footprint on the ground at any of the sites. Achieving this was a constant battle against non-existent mobile signals in some pretty remote locations.

Exploring the park over the past year has been a great experience. We visited a load of places we had no idea existed, during the height of summer and the depths of winter. None of us in the studio had ever previously been to any of the locations featured in the app.

How to get Poems in the Air

The iPhone version of Poems in the Air will launch on August 1st and will be available for free from the App Store. From mid-August it will also be available on Google Play.

We’ll post links on our Facebook and Twitter accounts as soon as we have them.

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