Becoming a Trustee of Forward Arts Foundation Celebrate excellence in poetry & widen its audience
Forward Arts Foundation organises National Poetry Day and the Forward Prizes for Poetry Forward Arts Foundation, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA. Tel: +44 (0)20 7845 4655 Email: [email protected]
Website: forwardartsfoundation.org Registered Charity Number: 1037939
Contents Who we are and what we do - an overview from our director
Vision, Strategic Vision and Strategic Objectives
Our Board of Trustees and Staff
Our annual anthology, the Forward Book of Poetry
Our book, Poems of the Decade: an Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry, has recently been chosen for the A-level syllabus
Who we are and what we do: an overview from our director Forward Arts Foundation is an education charity and an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation, specialising in poetry. We celebrate excellence in poetry and seek to extend the audience, raise poetry’s profile and link people to poetry in innovative ways. We do this by awarding Forward Prizes to the authors of the best new poetry published each year. The cream of the year’s crop – around 70 poems – is then collected in the annual Forward Book of Poetry, an anthology designed to give the public an up-to-date overview of poetry, rather as the Turner and Man Booker prize shortlists do for contemporary art and fiction. The Forward Prizes are unique in honouring new voices alongside established names: past winners of the Best Collection prize include Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, while emerging poets first celebrated in the Best Single Poem and Best First Collection category include Alice Oswald, Don Paterson, Kathleen Jamie and Daljit Nagra. Commendations and inclusion in the Forward anthology are often career turning-points for young poets, in an art form where the mismatch between artistic achievement and public recognition is dismayingly great. We also organise National Poetry Day, a mass celebration that falls each year in early October. Broadly, if the Forward Prizes are all about excellence, then National Poetry Day is primarily about participation, inviting members of the public to share any poetry they enjoy – whether by writing it, reciting it, memorising it, performing it, shouting it from the rooftops or sticking it in windows for all to read. The Foundation co-ordinates NPD partnerships within and beyond the poetry sector so that NPD is both an magnet for nationwide attention and a focus for participation, attracting all ages, from wide-ranging backgrounds. It is particularly effective at involving those characterised as “hard-to-reach”: non book-buyers and non-readers. From the outset, we have been supported by our main prize sponsor, Forward Worldwide, a publishing company founded by our chairman, William Sieghart. Over the years, other supporters have come in: our work is currently backed by Arts Council England, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation, the Rothschild Foundation and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. As our 25th anniversary approaches in 2017, we are expanding the scope of our work. In the 1990s, publishing an annual Best of the Year print book was a smart new idea, but in these days of YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, we need to take into account various new ways of cultural participation. Using our experience of National Poetry Day audience engagement, we will make the best examples of the art accessible to a generation for whom digital media is supplanting the printed word. If excellent poetry is to thrive in the 21st century, it needs enthusiastic and informed audiences. Developing these audiences is our mission. “To have great poets, there must be great audiences too” - Walt Whitman
Forward Arts Foundation Mission, Strategic Vision and Strategic Objectives Forward Arts Foundation is an arts charity that identifies and celebrates excellence in poetry and brings it to the widest possible audience Mission We believe great art cannot thrive without great audiences and therefore our work is based on the principles of excellence, discovery and access. Our mission is making poetry heard, by putting the best poetry before the widest audience. We do this through high-profile projects, including National Poetry Day, the annual Forward Prizes and books, and the ground-breaking 2012 Winning Words Olympic initiative. Strategic Vision We connect. We seek to bridge the gap between the poetry sector and the public. We aim to be an agent of change, an innovator, an advocate and an enabler of partnerships for the benefit of the poetry sector. Strategic Objectives: - to identify and celebrate excellence in contemporary poetry - to widen and deepen poetry’s audience, both by reaching those who have little or no contact with poetry and by increasing the quality of engagement of those who have some contact with poetry - to raise the public profile of poetry as an art form, giving it a more visible position in UK culture and media - to link people to poetry in innovative and critically-acclaimed collaborations with other art forms (visual & performing arts, music, film and sculpture) - to work collaboratively with other organisations to build a sense of community - to demonstrate sound financial planning and control so that the above five aims are sustainable in the long-term
Students enjoying the Forward Book of Poetry
Kei Miller, winner of the Forward Prize 2014
Our Board of Trustees and Staff
We have three members of staff who work together to make everything we do happen. Susannah Herbert, Executive Director Susannah is the former editor of the Sunday Times books pages and a national newspaper journalist for 20 years. She joined Forward Arts Foundation in September 2012, after helping launch the Evening Standard’s Get London Reading campaign. Maisie Lawrence, Programmes and Digital Manager Maisie worked on iF Poems, the best-selling poetry anthology and app for children, and edited Ash, the magazine for Oxford University’s Poetry Society. She writes poetry and enjoys Formula 1. James Trevelyan, Office Administrator James Trevelyan studied English at Lancaster University and did an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. He has worked for the Poetry Book Society and the Poetry Society and has had his poems published in a number of magazines and anthologies.
Trustees The Foundation currently has six Trustees with a broad range of skills and experience. They are highly engaged with the work we do. William Sieghart, Chairman William founded the Forward Prizes in 1992 and National Poetry Day in 1994. He was responsible for the 2013 Sieghart Report on libraries and e-books. He prescribes poetry for various ailments of the spirit on BBC Radio Four and at festivals and in libraries across the nation. Nigel Bennett, Trustee Nigel is a consultant to the law firm Michael Simkins LLP, where he specialises in film and television. He is a trustee of the Chichester Festival Theatre. Joanna Mackle, Trustee Joanna is deputy director of the British Museum. As publishing director of Faber and Faber until 2008, she has worked closely with many of the age’s greatest poets, including Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon. Robyn Marsack, Trustee Robyn is Director of the Scottish Poetry Library – a unique national resource and advocate for the art of poetry. Born and brought up in New Zealand, she has degrees in English literature from Victoria University and Oxford, and was formerly a publishers’ editor. Giles Spackman, Trustee Giles is Group Finance Director of Oxford University Press. After degrees from Oxford and Harvard and a stint at McKinsey, he has worked for media and technology companies such as Time Warner, Pearson and Google. Martin Thomas, Trustee Martin is chairman of Lancashire Holdings, a director of BACIT Ltd and a partner of Altima Partners. He has been an official at the Bank of England, senior counsel at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and the driving force behind the Balance Foundation. 5
Applying to be a Trustee Forward Arts Foundation is a highly-regarded literary charity that celebrates excellence in poetry and widens its audience. Our programmes include National Poetry Day and the prestigious annual Forward Prizes for Poetry, awarded each year at London’s Southbank Centre. Our cultural contribution is recognised by our inclusion in Arts Council England’s national portfolio: we now need to understand more about our audiences and increase levels of participation in our work. We seek a dynamic and committed trustee with digital, film and social-media experience, who understands audience-building and has, ideally, a history of engagement with BME communities. A love of well-chosen words is an advantage. The post is not paid, but offers a great opportunity for personal and professional development within the arts: travel expenses will be reimbursed. Trustees are expected to commit to a 3-year term on the Board and to support the executive team as needed. There are six board meetings each year, held in London. If you wish to proceed with an application, please submit your CV with an accompanying letter via our Submittable page. We would like to know how you found out about this post. Applications should be addressed to William Sieghart. You should receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Please contact us if you do not receive this. The closing date is Friday 17 April 2015, 5pm.