In early September, Sputnik’s very first intern started work. Tanya Chitunhu is based at Raglan Road Church, Smethwick and is working alongside the Sputnik team at Central House throughout this year. We thought that it would be rude not to introduce her to you all.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Compassionate, opinionated, determined, introverted and surprising
Why are you interning for Sputnik this year?
I have been performing spoken word poetry on and off for years in my local church and other places and I just felt I needed to dedicate time and effort to explore and hone the craft. I also wanted to see if or how I can turn professional or semi professional at it. The internship seems perfect to do that.
What are you going to be doing this year?
I will be mentored or coached by other writers and poets. That translates practically into working on lots of new poems and getting feedback on my work as well as regularly performing at different venues across Birmingham and beyond. I will also be meeting artists from different fields to get a wider perspective on the arts as inspiration. Alongside that, I will be assisting Sputnik with their day to day administration and whatever they need. Lastly, I am participating in Impact training which is a basic theology course for a great foundation in growing in relationship with God.
As for your artistic practice, what are your goals and who are your main inspirations?
My main goal is to be a better writer and performer of spoken word poetry. I believe God has given me a gift and the best way to honour him is to be the best I can be at using it. I have set myself an incredibly high bar of becoming the next Birmingham Poet Laureate! I hope participating in the competition will push me to the next level of my craft and it will be fun trying to achieve it.
My main inspirations are a little known spoken word poetry collective from America called The Strivers Row – their work is probably why I believe this art form is worth doing – it is deeply personal, incredibly powerful and absolutely passionate. Whenever I listen to or read their poetry, I feel alive and so inspired which are the greatest gifts I hope to give as an artist.
It’s an absolute pleasure having Tanya on board this year. If the first fortnight is anything to go by, she’s going to be a fantastic addition to the Sputnik team. I’m sure you’ll hear much more from her as the year goes on, but for the time being, I’ll leave you with a taster of what she does: