National Poetry Day Research and Development Project

This National Poetry Day Research and Development Project was commissioned by Arts Council England New Audiences Programme in 2002.

The work fell into five categories, four of which were carried out by Write2B, and one by the Poetry Society. The Write2B brief included the following: the development of new national partnerships to make NPD more sustainable; the use of new technology for marketing purposes, including the development of an online NPD Promoters' Toolkit; in-depth interviews with key stakeholders; an audit of NPD activity, comparing it to 2001 and assessing the impact of interventions made; and recommendations for the future of NPD. The Poetry Society developed new technology at the Poetry Society via an interactive CD-ROM for schools.

The final report, National Poetry Day Research and Development Project, and the NPD Promoters' Toolkit are available on www.takingpartinthearts.com.

The conclusions of the research were that NPD was a valuable key date in the literary calendar, but that it needed to leave its Poetry Lite image behind and engage more seriously with the profession. It needed to adopt a more co-ordinated approach to national partnership working, and a different style of media campaign. Recommendations included:

In 2003 Arts Council England, in partnership with the BBC, supported NPD in its 10th year with a £45,000 development grant, enabling the Poetry Society to take forward many of these recommendations.

As a result, NPD 2003 involved greater co-ordination between the Poetry Society and poetry publishers, agencies and promoters in the regions; a greater diversity of poetry, poets and poetry audiences in England; the development of a sophisticated and serious print and broadcast media campaign; and greater interaction with other events, organisations and promotions.

The BBC's involvement was also enhanced, culminating with an hour-long programme on Radio 4 on NPD itself, and the partnership with Booktrust consolidated. New technology was further exploited, with new interactive elements to the website, and the ongoing promotion of the NPD Promoters' Toolkit.

"A fantastic piece of research and development work that helped inform all our subsequent work into the development of NPD. Sue Stewart delivered the project in an exemplary way, making useful and lateral connections between poets, promoters, agencies and public bodies, and we are delighted with the results.

Gill Johnson
Head of Broadcasting, New Audiences Programme
Arts Council England