Poet on the High Street, Winchester

by Winchester Poetry Festival in Winchester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 28th July 2021 we successfully raised £4,582 ( + est. £668.75 Gift Aid ) with 69 supporters in 101 days

Pledge your support and help bring poetry to the streets of Winchester, inspiring creativity, and exploring the city’s hidden heritage.

by Winchester Poetry Festival in Winchester, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If we exceed out target we'll be able to involve more people and do more of our year-round poetry with young people, engaging their interest and developing their talent as writers.

The project

Winchester Poetry Festival brings the city to life with poetry at its biennial festival. This year, we’re doing things a little differently. As the city begins to recover from the effects of pandemic, we want to use poetry to rejuvenate the city centre and to spread joy, understanding and a shared love of our city. 

Our 'Poet on the High Street' will work with schools, young people and the community at large to inspire creativity and to animate the city centre with poetry throughout the summer. They will produce poems for display in shop windows and public spaces throughout the city, hold workshops and readings, and celebrate Winchester’s hidden heritage through poetry. 

About Winchester Poetry Festival

International in outlook and rooted in our community Winchester Poetry Festival is a registered charity established in 2013; the first festival took place in September 2014. Since then the festival has run as a biennial event, celebrating the best in contemporary poetry from around the world.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we were unable to deliver the 2020 festival, but we can’t wait bring it to you this year instead – online and in person in Winchester. 

Alongside the festival, the charity promotes one-off events, an annual poetry competition, education & community activities and the Hampshire Poet programme (in partnership with Hampshire Cultural Trust).


Why we're crowdfunding now

In the wake of the pandemic, we all want to play our part in the city’s recovery. Animating the streets and city centre through poetry is our contribution to that recovery – not only economic, but social and personal – inspiring creativity and enhancing public spaces, sharing language and experience, and speaking to people in a unique way.

We want to focus on the social aspect of poetry, running workshops and events to bring people together, but we also want to look at our city’s history. Winchester has weathered some significant storms in the past and is full of hidden histories – the stories revealed by street names and shop signs, people’s memories and photos, as well as familiar landmarks. Poetry uses close observation, imagination and memory, so it’s a great way to explore history, place and identity, and to help us understand our city better. 

What the money raised will do:

We are fundraising to appoint a Poet in Residence. Funds raised will cover the writer’s fee and expenses, an operating budget to enable us to run events, publishing and marketing costs, and admin support for the Poet in Residence. 

Your donation will make a difference! Whilst we have pledges of support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Winchester BID and the Town Forum, we can’t achieve our target without public support. Please help us to make it happen!


Poet on the High Street FAQs

Q    Will the poet only be found on the High Street?

A    The poet will be in residence across Winchester, from the High Street outwards and taking in all the residential districts of the city.

Q    Who will the poet be?

A    We are advertising for a professional poet and when our target is reached we’ll shortlist and interview for the writer best able to engage through poetry with all of Winchester’s diverse communities.

Q    What will the poet actually do?

A    The project is a community residency. It’s a completely new idea for Winchester – in any artistic discipline – and will run from June to November 2021. It’s an integral part of the festival delivery plan and is designed specifically to facilitate Covid recovery.

Q     Yes, but what will the poet do?

A    OK – the poet’s job is to re-awaken and celebrate people’s sense of place, heritage, stories and connections, by enabling them to express feelings, memories and hopes through their own writing, whether as written poetry, digital or spoken.

Q    Anything else?

A    There will be readings, workshops, poems at bus stops, in shop windows, on pavements, poetry walks, commissions, surgeries, talks, probably a blog – in fact anything which contributes to the cultural life of the city. 

Q    What happens if you don’t reach your Crowdfunder target?

A    The total project cost is £15,000 and we’ve already had several pledges of support from the city’s business and civic partners and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We’re confident of raising our Crowdfunder target of £3000 – with your help – but a shortfall will mean we do less and don't fulfil the potential of this innovative project.

Q    What happens if the country goes back into lockdown or social gathering is restricted again?

A    The festival follows all government guidance on Covid-19 safety and behaviour and will deliver the project in line with prevailing regulations. If we can’t proceed then the funds raised will either be held over until safer times or re-directed to our education and community programmes.

Q    I have another question – who can I contact?

A    For any other questions or enquiries please email the festival manager at [email protected]


Thank you for your support!

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