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Heathrow teams up with spoken word artist Caleb Femi to create powerful poem on Britishness

5th February 2018
  • Heathrow partners with London’s Young People’s Laureate Caleb Femi to describe Modern Britain and travel in 2018
  • New research into what being British means found that one in five Brits (20%) now travel to visit family abroad
  • Harry and Meghan’s engagement announcement revealed as defining moment of the last year
  • Have You Met The Queen (19%), Which Football Team Do You Support (32%) and Are You From London (33%) are the top three things Brits get asked by people when overseas
  • The Beckhams, Mo Farah and James Corden join the Royals as best representatives of modern Britain

Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, today unveils a collaboration with critically-acclaimed spoken word artist Caleb Femi to launch his new poem A Tale of Modern Britain. Caleb’s piece, a beautiful and modern description of travel, celebrates Heathrow’s role as the gateway to the UK, welcoming and waving off international visitors and returning Brits.

With 78 million passengers travelling through Heathrow each year, this powerful new piece of poetry – written and narrated by Femi – uses his experiences travelling, as well as capturing people and journeys which have taken or taking place at the airport, as his inspiration for the film. Looking to the growing trend for spoken word, the poem explores what it means to be British through the lens of arrivals and departures at the country’s busiest airport.

The short film brings Femi’s words to life with his narration framing moments at the airport – from emotional reunions, excitement as people head off for new adventures at Departures and behind the scenes from the airfield – alongside snapshots of life in and around Britain. The video can be viewed on, on terminal screens across the airport and on the Heathrow Express.

To find out what ‘home’ means to British people today, Heathrow commissioned research asking 2,000 Brits about their views on Britain in the context of travelling.


Brits are thrill seekers at heart with more than one in five (21%) saying one of their top reasons for jetting off is to seek out an adventure, whilst 19% crave exploration of unusual places. Highlighting what a global community we truly are, a further 20% say their main purpose for travel is to visit their extended family, with one in twenty (5%) making journeys inspired by their family history.


London, the Queen and the Beautiful Game are what people most want to discuss with Brits when they travel overseas; one in three Brits stated they are asked whether they are from London, 32% are quizzed on which football team they support and nearly one in five of us are asked if we have ever met the Queen when on our travels.

With a Royal engagement, a third royal baby on the way and a global obsession with TV show The Crown, the royal family are firmly front and centre of mind for the nation, with The Queen, Harry, William and Kate all identified as our most recognisable representatives. Beyond the royals, David and Victoria Beckham, Mo Farah and James Cordon all feature on the list of ‘18 for 2018’; the British stars voted as the best representatives of modern Britain*.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal engagement is the moment that summed up the last year for many (32%) Brits. Over one in four (26%) felt it was the spontaneous singing of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ following the tragic Manchester attacks, whilst more than one in ten (14%) thought that the announcement of a female Doctor Who was the biggest moment for the nation last year.


The welcoming view of our local pub on the journey back from the airport is the moment at which more than one in five (22%) of us feel truly back in Britain, whilst buying a British newspaper (18%) and hearing different regional accents (17%) also feature high on the list of what makes us feel like we’ve arrived back home.

Caleb Femi explains why he was attracted to the project: “For many of life’s biggest milestones – from exciting departures to emotional reunions – Heathrow is the backdrop. The airport is a fascinating place to keep your finger on the pulse of modern Britain, as the people who travel through it says so much about the country and what we stand for.  I’ve loved immersing myself in the stories of different travellers to piece together a portrait of the country in 2018.”

“I hope people enjoy watching the video, which celebrates what it means to be British and the emotions that unite us all when we travel.”

John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive at Heathrow, commented“The UK is a culture that thrives on its connections with the rest of the world – for those leaving or returning home, as well as international visitors exploring the country for the first time.  As the UK’s only hub airport, and after more passengers than ever in 2017, we’re proud to help make these connections with the world possible. We hope that people really enjoy this ode to the UK as a celebration of Britain as a nation.”

Watch A Tale of Modern Britain by Caleb Femi on the Heathrow website here.