Poet in Residence

We are thrilled to welcome Cleo Lake as ESEH’s first ever Poet in Residence. Cleo will be joining us for the whole conference, before offering reflections through poetry on what she has heard and encountered, at our closing party at Circomedia.

Cleo Lake is the former Lord Mayor of Bristol (2018-2019) and was more recently candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset se-curing almost 65,000 votes to finish 3rd. During her term as Councilor she was instrumental in getting a Reparations and Atonement motion passed at Bristol City Council. Cleo is a founding member of campaign group Countering Colston and she made

international news during her term as Lord Mayor for removing portraits of enslavers from the Lord Mayors Parlour in City Hall.


Involved within the arts and culture sector for almost two decades, Cleo’s experience includes being Chair of St Paul’s Carnival, Radio producer and presenter on Ujima 98FM, an ADAD (Association of Dance of the African Diaspora)Trailblazer, writer in residence at the Arnolfini and a Bristol + Bath Creative R&D Inclusion fellow.


As a community engagement professional, Cleo was recently the lead re-searcher and consultant for the pioneering Bristol Legacy Steering Group commissioned, Project T.R.U.T.H.


Cleo is a qualified dance therapist and is a research associate at Bristol University on the UKRI funded ‘Decolonising Memory : Digital Bodies In Movement’ project.


Cleo is driven by the idea of utilising creativity, dance and expanded performance to aid civic engagement and to reframe storytelling as a resilience tool to embed cultural knowledge, empathy, understanding and cohesion and is currently a community coordinator for The World Reimagined