Poet In Residence Scheme


As part of our partnership with Canterbury Connected and in collaboration with poet Alex Vellis we have set up a Poet in Residence Scheme across the city.

Hosting a poet in residence brings significant benefits to an organisation – their love and understanding of language can support with marketing and promoting your activities; performance poets can offer workshops around building confidence and improving presentation skills within staff and events can draw in new customers.

The benefits for writers include a new platform for their work and the opportunity to meet and work with a group of people in a new environment whilst supported by mentoring from Wise Words. Although this is initially an unpaid opportunity, we are keen to work with poets to explore the many and varied ways this might support your poetic ambitions whatever they may be.

Poets will be mentored and supported by Wise Words.

The Marlowe

The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury re-opened in October 2011 after an extensive rebuild and has since become one of this country’s leading regional theatres with a wide and varied programme. 

About our poet: 
Patrick Connelly has spent the majority of his life residing in Kent but is currently a Popular Music student at Middlesex University.
Only a year ago, Patrick delivered his first performance of poetry during the Wise Words Festival poetry slam. Since then he has performed on stages such as Sadlers Wells, where he made his debut theatre performance for Breakin’ Conventions Open Art Sugery; Arts Depot for the Middlesex University Graduate Dance Show and The Southbank Centre for Alchemy Festival.
About the residency: 
Patrick is inspired by the fusion  of poetry and dance – how they compliment and contrast with each other as well as by the possibilities that present themselves when we are able to break down the walls between art-forms. He is also very keen to use his residency at such a prestigious venue to embody the essence of collaboration and further support the Marlowe to reach out into and connect with the local community.

Patricks will begin his residency through working as a Shadow Poet on the Warrior Poets project.



(BID) is an initiative set up, led and managed by Canterbury businesses and city centre organisations to ensure continued investment in Canterbury City Centre.

About our poet:

Alex Vellis is a spoken word artist, host and performer. He is the poet in residence for the Wise Words Festival and the producer of the poet in residence project. Having lived in Canterbury for most of his life, he has watched the city evolve and change. He has always found a beauty in change and his poetry and art reflect that accordingly. Since starting this project, Alex has become increasingly excited to be working with Canterbury Connected (Canterbury’s Business Improvement District) to explore how poetry and business can work together for the greater good of both. 

About the residency:
Alex wants to inspire people the way that people have always inspired him.
Alex has big plans for installation art and poetry in Canterbury, he wants to start exploring the past and the future of the city by creating explorative pieces that work side by side of businesses and help enthral the people audiences experiencing them.


Porchlight is a charity working across Kent, supporting vulnerable or isolated people. By providing young people and adults with advice; guidance and skills to live independently in the future, they play an active role in the local community and to fulfil their potential.

About our poet: 

Poppy Wilson passionately believes in poetry’s ability to empower. She studies Social Work at university with the ambition to work alongside vulnerable people to support them to feel connected to their environment, to feel empowered – whilst also wanting to find ways to hold up a mirror to the reflect and make visible, the reality of our society. 

About the residency:

Poppy believes that poetry can be a powerful tool to communicate important stories; that it can be a platform for social change. Through this Residency she hopes to work with the organisation and its service users to explore and tell these stories, and through doing so to raise awareness but also increase a sense of wellbeing within those who take part. 

“The arts allow us to reach outside of our own sense of aloneness and connect with our fellow humans. For people who are experiencing a difficult time emotionally this can be vital. In sharing our experiences through different mediums we realise we are not alone in how we think or feel.

The Refectory Kitchen

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The Refectory Kitchen is a contemporary family run bistro serving breakfasts brunch and lunch everyday. They have also just opened for evening service on Thursday Friday and Saturday nights.

About our Poet

Amy Barnes is a Thanet based poet who is passionate about utilising the spoken and written word to form and strengthen human connections. Amy believes that effective, creative and inspirational communication is paramount to understanding one another and supports us to bridge gaps created by misconceptions. 

About the Residency

Amy Barnes is a Thanet based poet who is exited about the possibility of  creating beautiful interactive installations that encourage visitors to the Refectory to engage with poetry through responding to prompts and contributing. 

In the longer term we are keen to develop performance events within the space. 


Whitefriars is Canterbury’s award-winning shopping district, with over 70 of the country’s leading fashion and lifestyle retailers located in a pleasant, open environment in the heart of the city. 

About our poet: 

Connor Sansby is a writer and  a poet with a keen interest in how the arts can engage new audiences. He comes from a background in marketing but is now a professional writer and owns his own Publishing House Whisky and Beards. 

About the residency 

Connor is excited by the possibility of working within the space presented through this partnership with Whitefriars and hopes to create poetry installations reflecting thematic links to the history of Canterbury. He has a fondness for fictionalising events that have taken place in the past, uncovering history and the hidden psycho-dramas of a place. Canterbury, with it’s rich past, provides an ideal location. 

He is in process of developing a “poetry jukebox”, a small device that can be placed on counters or even shop windows and  that can share poetry direct to a smartphone. This may become an exciting element of his residency. 


To Apply

The Role:

Each residency will last for a minimum of a year and will focus on exploring the potential of partnerships between poets, poetry and business. This is not a paid opportunity but each poet will receive mentoring and support from Wise Words and envisage that some opportunities to raise funds may arise through the programme. 

Each individual business and artist will have their own ambitions, needs and challenges so we are not imposing any strict boundaries around this role but will work with the chosen poet and business to develop a project plan at the beginning of the residency. 

This project is supported by Canterbury Connected who have several exciting initiatives that they run across the year. Each poet in residence will be expected to respond to a minimum of 5 of these in some way.

To apply: 

Please send us no more than 1 side of an A4 page, responding to the following: 

  • Please outline any relevant experience
  • Share why this opportunity captured your imagination
  • Explain what you hope to gain from the opportunity
  • Describe any initial ideas of things you might like to do within the role

Applications should be sent to Alex: alex@workers-of-art.co.uk