Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships FAQ

We have provided more information below in answer to frequently asked questions. This page will be regularly updated whilst the opportunity is open for applications. If you do not find the answer you’re looking for, please do contact Nathalie or Kaya.

Why did you use nominators and invite poets to apply?

We chose to work with a wide range of nominators to make recommendations of poets for the Fellowships because we wanted to encourage people to apply who may not normally consider putting themselves forward for this kind of opportunity. We hope that knowing someone else believes in you and your work will give you a confidence boost.

We also wanted to ensure those applying to this opportunity are well-supported. From experience, we know that open calls for applications result in an incredibly high level of competition and an impersonal experience for applicants.

Who are the nominators?

We asked over 170 poets, producers, publishers, editors and artists from all backgrounds and based throughout the UK to recommend one or two individuals they thought would benefit most from the Fellowship opportunity.

The nominators’ identities are kept anonymous at this time to ensure that they could really consider our brief and make their recommendation freely. If they choose, they can speak to others about their involvement. If a poet they nominated is chosen to be a Fellow, we have asked if they would consent to be known as the nominator to show publicly their endorsement.

Can I pass on the nomination to another person?

No. The invitation is unique to you and is based on at least one nominator’s recommendation.

Do I need to produce anything (i.e. publications, performances, events) during the Fellowship year?

No. The Fellowship is offered without any expectations to produce something in the year. We realise that it is unusual for a funder or commissioner to say this. In our experience, if we trust artists to be curious, collaborative and experimental then it makes space for brilliant, unplanned things to happen. The Fellowships are designed to give a financial bedrock to give poets freedom and confidence to make the best use of the time and professional connections we can make. Our greatest hope is that the Fellowship gives individuals the chance to slow down and decide what they do and don’t want to do.

I haven’t worked much during the pandemic. How should I describe my writing practice and experience?

We suggest you include the research and work you have been making, and/or the publications, performances, digital events and commissions you may have realised in the last 18 months. We recognise that opportunities for work in the last year have been limited and examples can be drawn from any time in the last 18 months. You can also describe the themes and concepts behind your work, and the processes and approaches you used.

What should I include in my proposal?

What is your vision for developing your practice over 12 months with the assistance of the bursary and mentoring support? Please give examples of any areas that you would like to research, people you would like to talk to, ideas you want to test and/or collaborations you would like to pursue through the year. A strong application will show clear developments from previous work and will have specific goals in mind. You don’t need to have all the answers up front, we would rather know your questions and the direction you want to take in your poetry career with the support of the Fellowship.

Are there any costs involved in applying?

There is no charge for applying to the Fellowships. We recognise that making an application involves significant unpaid labour on the part of applicants and aim to provide as much information on these pages to help you make an informed decision about whether to apply and how to put together an application. As part of trying to reduce this unpaid labour the application form requires no more than 1,000 words, plus examples of your written or performed poetry.

The shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview in September. They will be paid an honorarium of £75 each and receive coaching and support prior to the conversation.

Can I submit more than one application?

No. We can only accept one application per person. If you have submitted more than one application by accident, please contact Kaya to ensure the correct one is reviewed by the readers.

If I get funded, can I still take on additional work during 2021/2?

Yes. The Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships are designed to give you the freedom to pick and choose the work you take on during the 12-month period. You are free to make choices that you think are most appropriate for your circumstances.

Can the Fellowships support international working?

To be eligible for the fund, you need to live and work in the UK. The proposal should focus on the development of your vision working in this country but may also include the international networks, connections and opportunities you want to make. If you want to, and the guidance allows it, you may of course travel and work internationally in 2021/2. The work you undertake during the year, both in person and digitally, may include people based outside of the UK.

What can I spend the funding on?

We do not expect a breakdown or budget of how you intend to spend the £15,000. It is freely given and can be used for living or working costs as the Fellows sees fit. It is our hope that it will provide significant financial support to enable you to spend time thinking about your work, researching, making new connections, experimenting and creating. Reporting at the end of the year will not focus on how the funding has been spent, but on what it has enabled.

Can I make an audio/video application?

Yes. If you would prefer to submit your application as an audio or video recording, the online application portal provides the opportunity for you to do this.

You can submit a link to a audio or video recording containing your proposal. We will ask you to complete contact details and an equal opportunities monitoring form in written form to assist the processing of your application. No assessment of the production quality of audio or video recordings will be made.

What happens if I experience a technical issue with the website?

We test the guidance pages on our website and the application portal thoroughly. However, we know that technical difficulties do arise. If you experience an issue with the website, please report it to Kaya.

You may find this especially frustrating if it happens right before the deadline, therefore we strongly advise that you draft your application offline in the word version of the application form and try to submit your application well in advance.

If I have a disability and/or specific access or care requirements, what support can be offered if my application is successful?

We recognise that artists/creatives with disabilities and/or access requirements are under-represented in the arts and may require additional support throughout the year.

Awardees are invited to submit an access document to outline your support needs. This is useful at the beginning to provide us with information about what your needs are so that the best structures can be put in place to ensure that you have equal access to work. Regardless of whether you choose to submit an access document, there will be regular confidential ‘check-in’ points to see if your situation has changed, or if there is anything that we might reasonably do with regard to access, to better support your ability to undertake and complete the supported year.

Please do contact Kaya if you would like to discuss your needs prior to applying.