Boat Poets is a residency opportunity for poets aged 18-25 to spend time on board a boat on your local river or harbour. Rivers hold the stories of our cities, industry, travel, geography, nature and much more. But what is your experience of your local river and the people who live and work on and around it?

Access to the boats will provided by captains and skippers working on board, giving you a unique experience of the waterways. You will create new work inspired by these residencies, whilst being given paid time, space and support to explore your craft and work in new ways.

During your residency you will have the opportunity to engage in workshops and mentoring sessions to support the development of your work. We will also support you to develop your new work into a live performance and/or short film.

Who can apply?

Any practicing poets aged 18 – 25 and resident in either London, Bristol or Plymouth can apply. Your residency will take place in and around your local city.

We particularly encourage applications from poets who consider themselves to be of a Black or Minority Ethnic group, and poets living in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.


Due to the construction and health and safety measures associated with most boats it can be tricky for disabled individuals to get on board safely. However, if you do have a disability and are interested in applying for this opportunity, please email us at and we can chat about how to make this possible.

What is expected of you?

Primarily we require your time on all dates listed in the calendar below (any additional dates will be arranged with successful artists), and flexibility to interact with the river organisations and boats, to make the most of this unique opportunity. The project producer will support these relationships so you won’t be expected to do this on your own.

We require that one piece of written poetry be submitted at the end of the residency. This can explore anything you choose but we expect the residency to have provided inspiration for the poem. We will make a small booklet of your poems that you can keep and will be given to key project partners.

You will also have the opportunity to shadow a professional poet as they deliver a workshop in a school or community group in your local city.

Through research we have found that many young people do not engage with their local river at all. We encourage you to keep these people in mind during your residency and consider how your responses might inspire people of your own age from across the UK to think about their local river in new ways.

Project Dates

To participate in this project you must be available to meet the deadlines and activity dates below:

27.04.18 – Deadline for applications

09.05.18 – Successful artists notified

04-08.06.18 – Residency week

18.06.18 – Submission deadline for written poem

Fees and expenses

Residency fee: £500
Workshop assisting fee: £50 Performance or filming day fee: £100

Expenses – We will cover pre-arranged and reasonable travel expenses during the residency based on providing receipts for the journeys.

How to apply

Please send to

  1. A statement introducing yourself and outlining why you would like to be considered for this opportunity (no more than 500 words)
  2. An example of your work
  3. Any relevant web links (websites, YouTube etc.)
  4. Your date of birth
  5. The city you live in (London, Bristol or Plymouth)

On submission of your application you will be sent an equal opportunities monitoring form, please complete and return this to the same email address.

Closing deadline

9am, Friday 27th April 2018