Paid opportunity to contribute to the Herstory Festival.

Herstory is bringing together poets, activists, librarians, curators and communities to explore the unfinished fight for women’s rights in the UK through poetry, performance and discussion.

In March 2022 the Herstory festival produced by Poet in the City in collaboration with residents of the city will take over libraries across Newcastle and Exeter with electrifying live performance, intimate installations and enlivening discussions. Audiences online will be able to join and contribute to key events, igniting a national conversation. The Herstory festival will be an opportunity to discover, celebrate and champion stories from the long and ongoing battle for gender equality. It will foreground the voices that too often go unheard or ignored, confined to the sidelines.

Poet in the City with Newcastle Libraries & Libraries Unlimited, Exeter are seeking creative contributions from across Newcastle & Exeter on the topic of caring for women, to form the content for the Herstory festival. The festival will be a building takeover of the Central Library in each city on March 23rd (Newcastle) & March 30th 2022 (Exeter). We are seeking contributions which will work in a live setting from individuals/groups across the city who are interested in and passionate about women’s rights & gender equality.

The concept of “care” in the fight for women’s rights has become central to our programming ideas. From the pressures of the pandemic and the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies, to the power of resistance and everyday acts of defiance, Poet in the City has gathered diverse voices and perspectives to speak to the issues and themes that animate this fight for acceptance, equality and care.

How do we care for our sisters? Our brothers? Our siblings? Our parents or carers when fighting for the rights of women? How do we care for ourselves, particularly when working towards equality? How do we care for the stories of women who are less heard in our city? With this project we ask, What does a city that cares for women look like?

Suggestions of content include:

  • Interactive or sound installations
  • Live performance
  • Exhibition or displays
  • Cafe conversation starters
  • Panel discussions
  • Workshops
  • Live art

What we will provide:

  • We have a total budget of £3000 in each city. We are looking to support a minimum of three presentations. (We anticipate proposals of up to £1000 each but we welcome smaller ideas and concepts too).
  • We want to support access requirements so please share any access support you might need and include costs in the budget breakdown.
  • There will be one main stage area in the library and then activity can take place throughout the building.
  • We can provide some staffing to support audience management and technical requirements. However, we have limited technical and lighting capabilities, if there are key technical requirements for your performance/workshop/installation etc to go ahead, please outline those in your budget breakdown.
  • We can provide 1-2 sessions to support with the production planning of your idea.

Key points:

  • We are keen to programme a wide range of content and ideas and you do not need to identify as an artist to apply.
  • Herstory Festivals will take place on 23rd of March in Newcastle and 30th of March in Exeter, so your piece must be ready to present by then.
  • You are able to present a new piece of work or and existing concept. If you are suggesting something you’ve presented before, please let us know where else and when it has been presented.
  • The selected proposals will feature alongside a wider programme of activities, commissioned, produced and programmed by Poet in the City, featuring performances, live music, discussions and installations taking over the library building.
  • We use the term “women” to include trans women.
  • We welcome proposals from all genders and gender non-conforming applicants.
  • If your idea will form part of a wider proposal that has other investment/funding, please explain this in your budget notes.

How to apply

The deadline to apply will be 10am on Thursday 16th December.

To apply, please complete the following form here.

Please complete our monitoring form too. 

We welcome applications in alternative formats if that is preferred. You can submit a video or sound application answering the questions found inside the google form. Videos should be up to 5 minutes long. Please let us know if you would prefer to submit your application in an alternative format.

To submit your video or sound application please send the recording via to [email protected] by the call-out deadline.

We are particularly keen to hear from applicants who are underrepresented in the art industry at large due to the experience of barriers linked to ethnicity, class, disability, gender and sexuality.

If you have any questions about our application process, please contact [email protected]

Herstory is a partnership between Poet and the City, the British Library, Newcastle Libraries, and Libraries Unlimited, Exeter. It is inspired by the British Library exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights and is the latest project in Poet and the City and the British Library’s ongoing Collections in Verse collaboration.