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How poet graduate Nathan told the history of DMU for epic new video

As De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) looks forward to celebrating its long and colourful 150-year history next year, one alumnus has written his place into that story with a special poetry commission.

Nathan Lunt, who graduated in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2010, landed the commission to write and perform the poetic narrative in the ‘History of DMU’ video. The video was premiered for alumni at the inaugural Homecoming event in April.  

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His work, which extends from live spoken word, direct to camera recordings and poetry made for social media, is a reaction to the world around him – political commentary or events in the news.

Nathan’s involvement with the video grew out of his love for the university and a lasting connection with his tutors. It is also Nathan’s largest professional commission – the scale of which he initially found intimidating.

He said: “I’ve performed on the stage at festivals but I would say that this is the biggest thing that I’ve ever done – mostly because once it is out there it is also outside of my ability to control. I can’t edit it now or hide it and it is out there for the world to see – and that is a really scary but exciting thing to be part of.

“It’s also been a very personal work – DMU means so much to me, it validated and supported my passion for poetry, and transformed it from this little thing that I did on the backburner to the forefront of my degree and beyond.

“I would never have put myself out there and started performing if it hadn’t been for the support of my tutors. I even landed the commission after being recommended by a tutor, and that meant a great deal to be remembered – nearly 10 years after my graduation!

“I think that is what makes DMU so special, that after all this time they are still giving me support and encouragement.”

Nathan’s poetry career has grown and developed from the variety of projects has been involved with throughout the years. During the final year of his degree he worked on the committees of Leicester literary festivals, performed at open mic nights and stand-up comedy events and ran creative writing workshops.

From the momentum and interest that this garnered, he realised that what he was doing for fun could become his future profession.

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After graduation Nathan’s job in marketing allowed him to continue to write for an audience. But, missing the outlet of creative writing, he started volunteering for Writing West Midlands. There he worked as a writing mentor at the weekends where he honed his passion for teaching.

Nathan now has a job as a teaching assistant alongside his freelance creative work.

He maintains a flexible approach with his poetic style: “I try not to limit myself to one type of work or writing style – if I did I might miss out on something that I really enjoy!”

As part of the ‘History of DMU’ project Nathan got the chance to explore the university archives, looking at old Students’ Union prospectuses, design portfolios and photographs of student life.

What he found most moving about the collection was the level of care that DMU in its many forms had offered students throughout the years.

He said: “I realised just how much DMU has always, and will always, look after its community – from its beginnings as a group of volunteers striving to provide education to those who couldn’t access it, to the way that it created classes during and after WW1 which offered skills to rebuild the lives of soldiers.

“I really felt that this story needed to be told and that is why I was so excited to write about it. The only problem was that we had almost too much material! There was lots of content such as stories of the fantastic teaching and staff and the international reach of the university, which we had to edit out of the final version. I hope that those will be told in the future.

“The heritage of the university means so much to me and I am so proud to be an alumnus of DMU.” 

Posted on: Tuesday 07 May 2019

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