Our Team

We are a tiny team, passionate about making good stuff happen.

Beth Cuenco

Beth Cuenco

Beth started Workers of Art, the company behind the Wise Words Festival, in the Spring of 2010. As the Creative Director Beth is passionate about the ability of poetry to act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, inspiring a sense of social responsibility, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience and helping us imagine a better world.

What Makes your heart sing? 

That magic moment when you bring artists together in collaboration and together we create something none of us individually would have ever dreamed was possible. 

When a book or a poem says exactly what you’ve been thinking or feeling. It’s like finding a new friend. 

Other things include: kindness, generosity, courage, integrity, laughing uncontrollably, coming across beauty in unexpected places and when Jude says ‘Mummy I love you to infinity and back , infinity number of times’. 

What makes your heart sink?

Injustice, apathy and violence. 

What advice would you give your 6 year old self?

Don’t listen to people who tell you your dreams are crazy!

Alice Bryant

Alice Bryant

Alice is a freelance writer, marketing assistant and graduate of the University of Kent. A culture-vulture with a penchant for jalapeños, she is happiest boogieing at a local festival or swimming in the sea. 

What makes your heart sing?

When I’m swimming in the sea or when I’m thinking of how many different shapes of pasta there are. I love them all in equal measure. Especially you, farfalle.

What makes your heart sink?

My heart sinks when people sigh when I bring up how bees are dying at an alarming rate at house parties. 

What advice would you give your six year old self?

I would advise my 6 year old self to be exactly as she was, because she was probably my best, most truest self. I try to check in with her often.

Alex Vellis

Alex Vellis

Alex is a poet and an emerging producer. Alongside being the poet in residence for Wise Words, The Chocolate Cafe and Canterbury Connected he has developed a wider Poets in Residence scheme across the city. Alex will be working with us to explore how we connect better with younger audiences throughout the festival. 

What makes your heart sing?

I am a big fan of walking around in the early hours just after it has rained. Oh, and skateboarding in carparks with a couple of beers and good friends.

What makes your heart sink?

People with presumed authority, the idea that poetry is only for the middle class, skateblockers, last call orders, and when you let your dreams die.

What advice would you give your six year old self?

It gets harder but then it gets easier, mate. You won’t feel like this forever and no matter what you do your parents are proud of you, so incredibly proud of you. Don’t lose faith, you got this, kid.

Raphael Klatzko

Raphael Klatzko

After many years of working with Wise Words as a photographer and filmmaker, Raphael became a co-director of Workers of Art in 2015.  Alongside his huge talent for photography and filmmaking, he brings a wealth of practical skills that move dreams from dreams into reality. 

What makes your heart sing? 

The smell of rain on a summers day, and the heat of the sun on my skin

What makes your heart sink?

Life coming to a close.  A short day with more night than day

 What advice would you give your 6 year old self?

Understand sooner that you don’t need to understand to be able to develop.  Have hunger for questions, develop observation and companions. The rest will follow.

George Macpherson

George Macpherson

I’m a producer whose work is always looking to engage with my and my audiences’ understanding of ourselves and others. The work I make for adults or young people is participatory, community-focused, educational and (hopefully) fun: I want us all to learn and grow and enjoy it as we do. Joining the team at Wise Words Festival is a chance to engage with an excellent audience and hopefully help put together something fresh and exciting in 2017 and beyond.

What makes your heart sing?

Waking up in the morning, opening my tent and hearing nothing but birdsong and wind, then opening up a map and planning the day ahead.

What makes your heart sink? 

When people, myself very much included, forget that everyone else has their own stuff to deal with too.

What advice would give your 6 year old self?

“When you are climbing that pyramid and find a tunnel going down, your godfather will tell you to stop a being stupid boy and get down. Just stand up straighter, face into the wind, turn around and go a bit higher.”

Dan Harding

Dan Harding

Dan very kindly offers his skills as a social media whizz to help us get the word out about all the exciting events we programme and to give you a sneaky peak behind the scenes in the run up to the festival. 

What makes your heart sing?
Spontaneous acts of kindness between strangers; listening to my children singing to themselves in a nearby room; the scent of new-mown grass on a summer’s day; sunlight on a winter morning; choral music at Christmas; 

 What makes your heart sink? 
The closure of yet another library; racism and intolerance; 

 What advice would give your 6 year old self?

Think carefully about the frames you choose for your glasses, because photos of your wearing hideously unsuitable choices are going to haunt you for the rest of your adult life…!