What We Do

Wise Words reawakens a sense of wonder and encourages people to be curious. We are an arts organisation that works through poetry and storytelling, inviting people to see the world from a different perspective and to take time to pause. Our work is unexpected, intimate and connects strongly with the outdoors, engaging the widest possible audience.

Our hope is for a society within which people are engaged, caring & live their lives with purpose. We see poetry as more than entertainment. We believe in its ability to act as an agent for change: reaching across difference, inspiring a sense of social responsibility, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience and helping us to imagine a better world.

 

Programmes of Work

  • The Canterbury Poet Laureate Programme produced in partnership with the Marlowe Theatre
  • Supporting and mentoring local emerging artists through our Rough Cut Collective 
  • Poetry for wellbeing workshops
  • The Wise Words Festival 

A Year of Rest for the Wise Words Festival

Each year the Wise Words Festival has grown in ambition, scale and popularity. Last year exceeded all our expectations. We worked with over 100 artists and over 10,000 of you came along. We ended each day in wonder, unable to believe that the following day could live up to what we had just experienced and yet it did. Each day brought something new, unexpected and magical. 

Many people are surprised by how small we are. We are a team of one, sometimes two and occasionally three and whilst the festival keeps growing, we have remained the same – just working harder each year to deliver more. 

In a moment of clarity we realised that through our work, we encourage you our audience and friends, to take time out of your busy lives to pause, reflect and reconnect with the people and world around you. To notice and be inspired by the often hidden beauty in the things we are often too busy to notice. And yet we ourselves have been too busy to live by what we believe is so important. 

For the festival to be all that it could be, for it to reach its greatest potential, we need to take the time to rest, replenish, gain new inspirations and build a strong team to take the festival forward. This year we will be taking a year out so that we can come back strong in 2019 as a build up to our 10 year anniversary in 2020. 

Our Festival Patron, Lemn Sissay will continue his Laureateship until Spring 2020, a programme that will continue to be designed and produced by Wise Words in partnership with the Marlowe. I will continue to mentor and support our emerging poets and artists through the Rough Cut Collective and the Wellbeing workshops run by Victoria Field will continue each Friday at the Beaney. There will also be additional Wise Words events throughout the year. This year out from the Festival will also give us time to establish our artist community at our Cowshed Studios in Bridge.  

 

Wise Words Festival

10 days of thought provoking talks, walks, workshops, music, storytelling and poetry taking place in the heart of Canterbury.

An annual festival taking place each spring

10 days of thought provoking talks, walks, workshops, music, storytelling and poetry taking place in the heart of Canterbury.

Artist Development

A group of emerging poets supported by Wise Words to build the skills, networks and confidence to go out into the world and fulfil each of their unique potentials.

Our Rough Cut Collective, workshops & masterclasses

A group of emerging poets supported by Wise Words to build the skills, networks and confidence to go out into the world and fulfil each of their unique potentials.

Poet Laureate

In partnership with the Marlowe and supported by funding from Arts Council England, the Laureateship weaves poetry into the fabric of the city.

Lemn Sissay - Canterbury's Poet Laureate 2017-2020

In partnership with the Marlowe and supported by funding from Arts Council England, the Laureateship weaves poetry into the fabric of the city.

Wellbeing

Exploring how reading, writing and discussing poetry can help on life's journey

Facilitated by poetry therapist Victoria Field

Exploring how reading, writing and discussing poetry can help on life’s journey
  • “Wise Words has its heart in the stars and its feet firmly on the ground” Lemn Sissay OBE

Warrior Poets

A series workshops engaged young people in care and unaccompanied young refugees in the process of exploring the resilience that develops within them as a result of the hardships they have faced at such a young age.

Wise Words Festival

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