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Community projects, collaborations and events.


We’re here to be a round table for poetry where everyone is welcome.

We are a poetry organisation that does all sorts of things - from hosting our much-acclaimed biennial festival in Winchester, to our popular competition, to our wider work with schools and community organisations. We are here to share, showcase, celebrate and champion great poetry - because we believe in its power to bring us all together and make a positive, enriching difference to our lives and the society we live in.

We are a hub for poetry locally, nationally and internationally - from Winchester to the world.

Below you can see some of our previous community projects, events and collaborations.

Contact us if you would like us to bring some poetry to your organisation.

Past Projects

Mother Tongue Poetry Evening at The ARC, Winchester

Winchester Poetry Festival invited Susmita Bhattacharya and Aiysha Jahan from Write Beyond Borders to facilitate a celebration of languages at their most beautiful on Tues 14th May 2024.

Attendees shared poems of their own, and from their favourite poets, that were written in their "mother tongue". The languages represented from our community were: Portuguese, Welsh, Hindi, Maltese, Malayalam, French, Spanish, Romany, Ukrainian, Russian, English, Urdu, Dutch, Bengali, Hausa, Japanese, Arabic and Italian.

Participants then formed three groups to create unique collaborative poems combining their respective languages around the theme of "bridges, not borders"

This sharing session was suitable for all ages and abilities and aimed to connect our local communities through poetry. It was free to attend, thanks to support from Winchester City Council and The ARC.

The poems that were created in this session were performed to those in attendance and shared on our social media channels. 


Poetry Hub at Bournemouth Writing Festival 2024

Winchester Poetry Festival was invited by Bournemouth Writing Festival to curate a day of drop-in activities inspiring wordplay and expression through poetry, to take place as part of the festival programme.


We programmed facilitated sessions from Bloodaxe Books poet and Poetry Ambassadors mentee (see below) Kaycee Hill, Aiysha Jahan from transnational writing development scheme Write Beyond Borders,  our new Hampshire Poet Damian Kelly-Basher and award winning writer and poet Estelle Phillips. Activities included Truck Art Poetry exploring the slogans and artwork of Pakistan's jingle trucks; poetry collage; using non-verbal prompts from nature for poetry; surrealism in poetry; and a Community Landscape Poem for Bournemouth from submissions collated in person and via social media

The Poetry Hub took place in The Avenue Shopping Centre, Bournemouth on Saturday 27th April. All activities were suitable for all ages and abilities, and facilitated by experienced poets and writers. 

Outcomes were displayed on the walls of The Avenue Shopping Centre alongside largescale Poetry Project artwork, and shared digitally.

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Spreading The Word: with University of Winchester

To celebrate National Poetry Day 2023, we joined with University of Winchester for a special day of free entry poetry events on campus - for students and the general public to attend. 

National Poetry Day 2023 theme was 'refuge' and the date (5th Oct) coincided with National Homelessness Day. There were workshops throughout the day that explored this theme, culminating in a poetry slam in the evening hosted by poet Antosh Wojcik and lecturer Glenn Fosbraey.


Those attending the poetry slam were encouraged to bring an item to support Winchester Beacon and Winchester Basics Bank with them on the day to to support them in the work they do providing refuge to those in our city.


Poet On The High Street: Jonny Fluffypunk

Supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Winchester City Council, Winchester BID and the people of Winchester, we announced our Poet On The High Street in 2021.

Stand-up poet and performer Jonny Fluffypunk embarked on a five-month residency taking Winchester’s communities and businesses on a journey of expression, imagination and creativity to shine a light on the changing face of the historic city’s High Street. 

Jonny held variety of workshops and performance events on Winchester High Street, encouraging people of all ages to express what matters to them about the past and to share its significance with others. 

Outcomes included a printed anthology of community poems 'Winchester: A Poetic History in Inconsequential Moments' and an interactive map of the city.

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Poetry Ambassadors

In conjunction with Artful Scribe and the University of Southampton's AHRC supported Invisible Mentors research project, we connected three young poets (April Egan, Kaycee Hill, Eve Wright) with three poetry mentors (Aviva Dautch, Caleb Parkin, Romalyn Ante) to challenge, guide and help them bloom.

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Treloar College

With Arts Council England funding during 2018-20 we continued our outreach projects including working with students at Treloar College. Our 2020 artist/poet ‘in residence’, Sophie Herxheimer, animated the festival space that year and said: 

'As part of my residency remit, I had the pleasure of working with students at Hampshire based Treloar's College. Students made poetry flags choosing words and pictures to show the world who they are and what they like to do. I hung the flags in the library, where they were admired by many visitors.'


Young Wordsmiths

Developing local young writers

In summer 2018, Winchester Poetry Festival launched Young Wordsmiths, an intensive creative writing course for young people with a focus on poetry.  Aiming to bring together a small group of committed local sixth-formers to work with each other, their teachers and an experienced poet ‘mentor’, to build their confidence and skill in crafting powerful words on the page. 


Offered free of charge, Young Wordsmiths was aimed specifically at lower sixth English students who’d like to try their hand at creative writing, or who want to write even better. In 2018, we worked with students and teachers from five local sixth forms: Barton Peveril, Peter Symonds’ College, St Swithun’s School, Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke and Winchester College.

Emergency Poet

Emergency Poet

The world’s first and only mobile poetic first aid service

A mix of the serious, the therapeutic and the theatrical, the Emergency Poet offers consultations inside her ambulance and prescribes poems as cures. In the waiting room under an attached awning Nurse Verse dispenses poemcetamols and other poetic pills and treatments from theCold Comfort Pharmacy. There are skulls, jars of eyeballs and other body parts inside the ambulance.


Free as a Word

In partnership with Solent Mind, in September the festival is providing a series of creative poetry writing workshops for the clients of the Winchester Wellbeing Centre. Called Free as a Word they will focus on encouraging participants to express themselves and develop their confidence through writing poetry. 


Solent Mind is the leading mental health charity across Hampshire. Find out more about what they do at

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Treloar College 2016

A series of workshops for the physically disabled students and young people at Treloar School near Alton, Hampshire. This pioneering school and college was established in 1908 by Sir William Purdie Treloar, Lord Mayor of the City of London, and used to be known as Lord Mayor Treloar College. Catering for students aged from 2-25, Treloar’s is one of the country's leading providers of education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training for disabled young people, preparing them for the challenges of independent living and personal development, learning skills for life and gaining qualifications or employment. 


A Single Line

What would a single line of poetry look like if it became a physical object? It would, of course, depend on the line. In the two weeks before the poetry festival, the Fine Art students of Winchester School of Art will be studying poems by all of the poets appearing in the festival. From this material, they will select just one line to serve as the starting point for a large-scale collective artwork, which they will construct in the sculpture studio. The department has made a habit of beginning its academic year in this way, with some 150 students collaborating on a single artwork. The results are unpredictable but always impressive. 


Poems in Waiting Rooms

What do you expect to read on a notice board in a hospital waiting area?  Probably not a poem by a celebrated poet, but that’s exactly what you will find in the waiting rooms of the Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital and the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester in the run up to our next festival. In a joint project with the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we have collaborated to bring poetry into hospitals because it is now well recognised that poetry can provide support and comfort, as well as distraction, in a healing environment.

Sonnet reading

Shakespeare Sonnets

We had a fantastic day on Saturday 23 April when we presented an all-day reading of all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets as a part of the Shakespeare400 celebrations taking place across the country. The event was a huge success with a constant flow of listeners and participants, including some remarkably good readers young and not so young, right through until the end.

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