Canterbury Bid

Poetry in Residence Scheme

The Wise Words Festival has set up a Poet in Residence Scheme across Canterbury  in collaboration with poet Alex Vellis.

Hosting a poet in residence brings significant benefits to an organisation – their love and understanding of language can support with marketing and promoting your activities; performance poets can offer workshops around building confidence and improving presentation skills within staff and events can draw in new customers.

The benefits for writers include a new platform for their work and the opportunity to meet and work with a group of people in a new environment whilst supported by mentoring from Wise Words. Although this is initially an unpaid opportunity, we are keen to work with poets to explore the many and varied ways this might support your poetic ambitions whatever they may be.

Poets will be mentored and supported by Wise Words.

If are a business or organisation in the Canterbury BID area, here’s how you can get involved:

What will you gain from hosting a poet in residence? 

Your poet would create a minimum of five pieces of work that engage your customers, promote your business or an initiative you are running. These could include events and performances, a poem displayed on your window or short poems that appear throughout your store.  It could include a short film that tells the story of your business through poetry or poems that enhance your regular newsletter. These are only a few examples and we hope that the relationship between you and your poet, would conjure up and explore many more.

It might be that you are looking to increase written or presentation skills within your team or are re-branding and would like to tell the story of your business in a new way… the possibilities are endless! Poets tell stories, are great with words, many are performers and these skills are invaluable for any business.


We hope that the relationship could begin with a conversation between you and the poet during which you would get to know each other and outline the scope of the residency. The poet would then spend time in the business (at mutually agreeable times) gathering inspiration for their work.

We are imagining that the residency would last a year and that poets would respond to key events across the year such as:

  • January Sales
  • Valentines
  • Mothers & Fathers days
  • Canterbury in Bloom
  • The Hop Pocket Race
  • Halloween
  • Christmas

Who are the poets?

Although this is an open brief and not all poets will come from Canterbury’s group of young poets affiliated with Wise Words Festival, we predict that many will so we wanted to give you a little more information about Word Out who are a “Community of poets who, supported by Wise Words, work together to make good stuff happen through poetry”

Word Out are a group of young poets from all walks of life, that work together to help create and produce poetry inspired activities and works of art that support community cohesion, encourage questioning and debate and inspire a love of literature.  Basically, they want to make people excited about words.

The recruitment process

Poets will apply in writing but to ensure we find the right person for you, we would like to ask you to be involved in choosing the poet. We would come to your shops to share the finalists and make the final decision with you.

What you might offer poets:

As a venue, you might be able to offer a platform for the poets work. This could take the form of a “gallery space” to showcase their work, a space for performance or anything really that fits in with the ethos of your business. The idea is that through a symbiotic relationship, both writer and business can promote and support each other’s work further than they can alone.

If you are interested: 

Please email