Open Access awards success with Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists


In 2018 Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists, (three poets: Dave Pitt, Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger) applied for an Open Access Award to put on several workshops.

“We noticed a lack of confidence for some people when presenting their work, and a desire to improve.” They devised and run three workshops teaching and developing mic technique and performance skills aimed at people who have had limited experience of reading their work in public and wish to learn how to present their work more effectively.

Participants were also encouraged to read their work in public, in a supportive environment of a closed workshop group (rather than in front of an audience).

The two-hour workshops were held in conjunction with their own events in Walsall and Wolverhampton, equipping more people with the performance skills to present their work as well as possible, and in turn, help raise the bar for live poetry in the region.

After three successful and fully subscribed events we asked Emma how the award helped them with their idea.

Can you tell us why you decided to apply for an Open Access Award?
It was the ideal amount for a series of workshops that Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists had identified a need for and wanted to run..

How did you hope to build a new audience for your project?
We publicised the workshops as confidence builders for people who might want to share some of their spoken word in public, or as a chance for people to develop microphone technique. We hoped that people would put themselves forward via social media, local performance nights, and local writers groups, which they did.

How has the award helped you to do this?
The award enabled us to pay facilitators to run the workshops.

What has been the most challenging part of your project?
Nothing was too challenging. It all went pretty much according to plan. There was a real demand for it and places were filled quickly.

What do you hope to do with your project in the future?
We would like to extend the workshops into series of mentoring activities which would include developing a voice and putting together a longer set of work with a view to performing. We would like to work 1:1 or with smaller groups (particularly women) and run activities either on line or within school hours.

What has been the best part of receiving an award from Open Access?
Seeing the workshop participants grow in confidence and then share their work at events that we ran after each workshop.

Can you give us any examples of something/s positive that came our of working with people during your project?
From our point of view we developed the workshops a little each time we delivered them and now have a package that we can take elsewhere. All the feedback we received was positive. A couple of people who had never stood up and read work before have done so since at other events with much more confidence. The confidence also transfers into other areas of peoples lives.

Is there any advice or words of wisdom you could give to new Open Access awardees?
Go for it. The application isn't too difficult or too time consuming. We had a lovely time delivering our project and it was very rewarding.

Open Access awards re-open on the 6th February 2019 - you can read more about the awards and some of the groups that have applied for them here.