I am Chairman of The Poetry Archive, which collects the voices of contemporary poets and records them for future generations. Our small, dynamic board supports the strategy of the Archive, in preserving these voices in all their diversity as well as bringing poetry directly into myriad homes and classrooms.
Before that, I was Chairman of The Poetry Trust, which ran the acclaimed Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, putting internationalism and revelation at the heart of its cultural mission.
I have chaired high-level arts discussion at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, featuring both UK and international writers, and looking at the role of poetry in the wider world. Platform themes have ranged from Poetry and conflict, Poetry and freedom to Poetry and beauty, Poetry and disobedience.
I also regularly facilitate panel discussions and platforms at Poet in the City, bringing writers, artists and cultural commentators together, to engage with audiences on themes of the day. Other public engagement projects have
included work with the Ministry of Stories, reinventing milestone broadcast such as Under Milkwood, Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Archers for the next generation.
Latterly, I was co-judge of the Poetry Archive Now! competition, trawling poems from across the globe to capture the unprecedented happenings of 2020 in concise and resonant poetic form. From 2010 to 2015, I was Chair of Judges for the Fenton 1st Collection Prize, run by The Poetry Trust, selecting the best first collection each year from over 80 annual poetry titles.
I have judged many poetry competitions including latterly: Crabbe Poetry Competition; Ware Poetry Competition; Ripley Poetry Competition, as well as school poetry competitions. In 2016, I was Chair of Judges for Poetry By Heart (North London), the competition that inspires young people to engage with poetry by committing poems to memory.
In my own arts projects, I enjoy the energy and inspiration that comes from collaborating with other artists. I have worked with the painter Neil Drury and the paper artist Jessica Palmer on various book projects. And in 2017, I collaborated with classical singer/composer Roderick Williams on a special carol for the Marie Curie Foundation, The Star has Come. It was performed at Southwark Cathedral in 2017 and 2018, and was published by Oxford University Press in 2019.
My work at the BBC involves extensive partner collaboration with museums and other cultural associations, from the Science Museum to the V&A. At the other end of the scale, I curate the smallest art gallery in Oxfordshire, the Red Box gallery housed in a telephone box in the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell.