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Hampshire Poet 2020 – brief

Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) is working in partnership with Winchester Poetry Festival (WPF) to deliver the 2020 Hampshire Poet Laureate programme. The Hampshire Poet programme has been running every two years since 2008 and was last held by Robyn Bolam in 2018.

 The Programme

The position of Hampshire Poet provides the opportunity for a Hampshire based poet (resident in and/or working in the county) to undertake commissions, lead workshops and give readings and talks throughout the county, and to act as an advocate for poetry and poets. Opportunities have been identified throughout 2020 for the Hampshire Poet to play a significant role, providing the poet with the chance to create new work, engage members of the community and connect to planned activities taking place across the county  during the year.


Key opportunities could include:

  • The 300th anniversary of Gilbert White (18 July 2020) – This will include the Poet linking in with plans to mark the anniversary through HCT’s venues in Alton, with a focus on nature.

  • The 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing – To support activity linked to events and programmes taking place across 3 HCT venues throughout the year and with WPF in October.  This could include connections to US poets as well as engaging in a dance and museums community project.

  • ‘The Eye of the Collector’ and Horizon 20:20 – Working with young people from the HCT led Horizon 20:20 programme to respond to ‘The Eye of the Collector’ exhibition, which will be on display in The Gallery at Winchester Discovery Centre in September 2020.

  • Hampshire Poets in Hampshire Villages – Opportunity to curate a short tour featuring readings from prominent Hampshire poets as part of WPF’s outreach programme in Summer 2020.

  • WPF ‘Young Wordsmiths’ – Poetry workshops with 6th form students from Hampshire Colleges, working towards an anthology and showcase around National Poetry Day and the 2020 festival.

These opportunities  do not represent an exhaustive list and we welcome innovative ideas from candidates for initiatives they would particularly like to undertake, especially those with potential legacy value.


The Role

The successful candidate will be a Hampshire based poet (including Southampton and Portsmouth) with the following experience:

  • A track record of publishing poetry in magazines, and/or online.

  • Experience of running poetry workshops and engaging with both experienced poets and beginners 

  • Preferably with experience of working with young people or in community settings.

  • A confident communicator

  •  The poet must be able to travel throughout the county.



There will be a fee of £3,000 for this commission, which will include an agreed number of commissioned poems, activity and events.  Anything additional to this will be agreed and funded separately.



  • Application deadline: Friday 15 November

  • Interviews undertaken: Thursday 12 December

  • Commission: January – December 2020



To apply to be the 2020 Hampshire Poet, please send your CV, four poems that are your own original work and 500 words or a page of A4 saying why you were attracted to the role and what you feel you could bring to it, referring to one or more of the opportunities outlined above.

Please send you application to:


Madelaine Smith

Festival Manager

Winchester Poetry Festival

c/o Faculty of Arts

University of Winchester

Sparkford Road


SO22 4NR


Or by email: hello@winchesterpoetryfestival.org