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National Poetry Day, Forward Arts Foundation  

Of Many Circles founder Rebecca Blackwood worked with poetry charity Forward Arts Foundation over a five-year period on a number of creative projects including new commissions for National Poetry Day.


Rebecca began working with the Forward Arts Foundation in 2011 with a brief to transform public perceptions of poetry. She worked closely with the Chairman and other partners to devise a strategy that placed poetry at the centre of the highest profile moment in London’s contemporary history – the Olympic Games. This involved developing a partnership with the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games as well as the BBC and other charities to integrate poetry into the Olympic Park through new artistic commissions and installations.


This public engagement strategy was developed over the five subsequent years through strategic partnerships involving the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, commissioning body The Space, as well as other poetry organisations.


From the commissions and partnerships of 2012 centred upon the Olympics to the leading artist commissions for digital distribution in 2015 the scale of audience involvement and the public profile of poetry has been transformed – with audience reach across all outlets grew rapidly from 25 million to approaching 500 million globally. 


The commissions trended on Twitter in the UK in the first pilot year in lead position for 1380 minutes on National Poetry Day and Worldwide for 25 minutes. The second year commissions top trended in the UK, USA and Worldwide on Twitter with a reach of over 500 million people. High profile participants included Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Paul McCartney. The artists’ commissions were downloaded over 200,000 times. 

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