Image Credit: Tamsin Elliott

Community & Placemaking

Beth combines her depth of experience in poetry co-creation, deep listening, workshop hosting, improvisation and performance to make sure that all her projects and residencies hold community voices at their heart.

Here are 3 examples of one-off projects and longer-term residencies that Beth has co-designed and led alongside place-makers and community organisations. 

Image credit: Mark Waller

The Poetry House, Ledbury

Community consultations on the future of a historic clocktower by travelling together aboard the Poetry Time Machine…

For this residency with Ledbury Poetry Festival, Beth transformed The Poetry Machine into a “Poetry Time Machine” as an imaginative way to gather local community members’ visions for the clocktower, a historic local building that has since been developed into The Poetry House at the heart of Ledbury.

The consultations started at a time when masks felt advisable for extra caution, so the Time Machine theme was also a good excuse to jazz up the safety visor!

The poems, created with groups of school children, local councillors, local community group members and passers-by across a series of workshops and Poetry Time Machine days, were woven into the funding application for developing this building into a community venue for all.

Lyra Festival Poet, Bristol

As Poet in Residence for Bristol’s Poetry Festival, Beth worked with community groups across the city to Write Outside…

Beth was appointed as the Poet in Residence for Lyra, Bristol’s Poetry Festival, in 2021. Passionate about advocating for green spaces as antidotes to stress and places of quality time for loved ones, Beth chose to focus on parks and outdoor spaces across Bristol. She spent this month-long residency co-creating poetry with groups who care for their local outdoor space, from established Friends of Parks groups to an intergenerational group of nursery children and older adults, to a newly-sprung gardening club of residents who have reclaimed their local community garden. 

Beth created a downloadable online writing pack that was available until the next festival, alongside a video of her residency poem The Playground of Learning #BristolWriteOutside.

Image credit: Dan Budda

Lion’s Walk, Colchester

A poetry installation created with passers-by for a beloved shopping arcade that was the site of an ancient roman lion mosaic… 

Beth took The Poetry Machine to Lion’s Walk in Colchester and spent two days talking to passers-by and shop-holders, co-creating beautiful in situ poems for them to take away. With their permission, the words and emotions they contributed, along with the themes Beth encountered when researching the history of Lion’s Walk, were woven into a poem that Beth shared with contributors for further feedback. The poem was transformed into a beautiful light installation by fra creative and GoBo Plus, so that community members will walk through their own words for years to come.


With her typewriter atop a silver medical trolley, Beth visits patients, carers and visitors in wards to help them put their stories into words, stretch their creative muscles and communicate with loved ones. Beth collaborates with staff members individually and in teams to express themselves through poetry.

Beth works with NHS Trusts and care organisations across the UK, including 3 longer-term residencies:

Image Credit: Tamsin Elliott

UH Bristol & Weston NHS FT

Since 2019, Beth has been the Poet in Residence for UHBW, creating poetry with patients, staff, carers and relatives.

Starting with poetry and collage workshops at the Teenage & Young Adults unit in Bristol Haematology & Oncology Centre, followed by a one-year residency at South Bristol Community Hospital, Beth’s residency extended across all ten hospitals in 2020. The residency is co-funded by Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity, who make beautiful experiences possible for patients and staff across the Trust.

3 memorable moments:

  • Creating a poem, Thread, with colleagues working in the Intensive Trauma Unit during the pandemic, which was given to families and patients along with pairs of knitted hearts while visiting was restricted.
  • Being alongside a staff member as she wrote her first poem about her stethoscope, which was later published in These Are The Hands, the NHS anthology. Watching Katrina read this poem at a live event with Michael Rosen.
  • Creating Listen In, an audio artwork that weaves staff voices with poetry, song and harp, in collaboration with the Trust Musicians in Residence. Performing with the staff choir at Arts & Health festival in Weston-super-Mare and as part of a national NHS 75th anniversary project, Our NHS Stories.

Oxford Hospitals Trust

Since 2020, Beth has been the Trust Poet for Oxford Hospitals Trust. She works with staff across all roles to create team poems.

Beth works remotely and in-person across Oxford’s hospitals, enabling staff members to express their thoughts and feelings about their work and each other. The poems are typewritten, framed and displayed in staff rooms and foyers, with thanks to funding by Oxford Hospitals Charity.

3 memorable moments:

  • Creating a poem with the Vaccination Team that administered the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine during the Covid pandemic. This poem is displayed alongside a piece of artwork by Harriet Riddell in the John Radcliffe Hospital.
  • Visiting the Trust’s four hospital sites with The Poetry Machine to co-create lines of poetry that formed the basis of a Trust Poem. The staff who contributed to this poem were invited to read their lines as part of a video celebrating the distinctive character of each hospital along with a collective Trust identity.
  • Hosting a poetry and collage consultation workshop with staff members at the new Education Centre, along with conversations at The Poetry Machine that inspired a poem. Lines of this poem are being made into a piece of artwork by a lettering artist and will be incorporated into the fabric of the building.
Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

Between 2022-24, Beth was the Poet in Residence for the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool.

Beth was based in Liverpool between 2022-early 2024. During that time, she was the Poet in Residence for the Clatterbridge, one of the UK’s leading cancer centres. This experience of working with patients and relatives at various points in their cancer journey was a privilege. 

3 memorable moments:

  • Helping patients in the Teenage & Young Adults unit to express whatever is on their mind, from celebrating their treatment halfway point to making a poem for their partner to sharing their lifelong love of Liverpool Football Club.
  • Enabling couples, friends and families to enjoy a creative escape together, describing the full range of human emotions – everyday acts of love, laugh-out-loud antics, messages of hope, even helping someone to write their marriage proposal poem.
  • Working with a Clatterbridge Musician in Residence, Claire Bloor, to create a collection of Sea Shanty-inspired songs with lyrics based on patients’ verbatim poems and composed in response to each person’s musical wishes.

Poetry at Work

The importance of work-life balance and being your authentic self at work are at the heart of Beth’s practice. Beth founded her own creative enterprise after experiencing burnout in previous jobs and is passionate about bringing self-expression and active listening into the workplace, along with creativity and collaboration.

3 examples of workplace communities that have tapped into their creative voices with Beth’s help.

Eco Poetry with Osborne Clarke

Beth collaborated with staff members across Osborne Clarke to help them tell their collective decarbonisation journey. 

Beth was commissioned by Art Acumen to co-create a poetry triptych for law firm Osborne Clarke’s new home in Bristol, Halo. The poems have inspired 3 beautiful paper-cut artworks by Sarah Dennis and the poetry and paper-cut pieces are displayed together at Halo. Together, they illuminate the images in staff members’ personal stories.

The trio of poems have woven words and themes, gathered through workshops and a digital questionnaire. During the writing workshops, Beth designed a series of accessible prompts to enable staff members to write and speak courageously and authentically about their decarbonisation journeys, using their office collection of decarbonisation-themed artwork as visual inspiration. Read them here.

WACL Poet in Residence

As poet for the Women in Advertising & Communication Leadership Festival of Talent, Beth spoke to delegates’ hearts.

At the 2022 WACL Conference, hosted by Sky, Beth hosted refreshing poetry moments throughout the day, starting with a performance of her own poetry on resonant themes of authenticity, mentorship and empowerment. She guided hundreds of online delegates through a micro writing workshop and read out a selection of the delegate-written poems that were bravely shared in the chat. To close the event, Beth read a key-note poem, gathered from words spoken by delegates and speakers throughout the conference. The poem was shared with delegates afterwards so they can always read it and re-experience the feeling of intense inspiration that is at its most powerful in the closing moments of a successful conference.

Team Poetry with Hearst

Beth collaborated with 200 members of Hearst’s commercial team to create poetry throughout the day.

As team members arrived at the hotel conference room, they noticed an unexpected sight: a Poetry Machine! Beth welcomed people to create personal poems with her in the coffee breaks. She hosted a guided poetry writing workshop, inspiring team-members to be braver in using their voices for change. Throughout the day, Beth gathered words, phrases and resonant moments into a verbatim poem that she performed at the end of the event, bringing home the event’s core message of helping to build a better future through the words of speakers and team-members. It was inspiring to work with this team and learn how advertising and communication can amplify climate change and social justice causes. The poem was shared with delegates after the event, was described as “so valuable” by the organisers, and received “brilliant and positive feedback” from attendees.

The format was excellent, connecting our delegates to the messages of the day and to their creative selves. Beth, you are magical.

Bella, Sky

You listen with such welcome invitation and calm. And you write so beautifully, as though you are reading my mind and making it make sense! So eloquent to articulate that feeling on the page – what a gift. A little bit of poetry magic.

Laura, Poetry Machine guest

The response from staff been above and beyond my expectations. I was particularly impressed by your ability to work with staff who may feel very hesitant about being involved in a poetry project and feel it’s not for them. It’s a great skill to make people feel confident about expressing their views.

Ruth, Oxford Hospitals Charity

It meant everything! Reinforced my love of poetry. Gave me such pride to have unique entertainment at my wedding. Delighted!

Cheryl, Wedding party

I am 8. I love coming to Hay. Beth’s poems are beautiful. I want to be a poet.

Aoife, Poetry Machine guest

It is very special to be able to bring Beth to the Poetry House in Ledbury so that she can offer her Poetry Machine experience to locals and tourists. Everyone who participated found the experience to be delightful, moving, enriching, stimulating and special.

Chloe, Ledbury Poetry Festival

It broadened my horizons as to what people with severe aphasia can do in a group, given the right support. It was inspiring.

Barbara, Bristol After Stroke

It meant the world to me to be able to be with my friends and to talk about how much our friendships meant to us, and have that captured in a beautiful poem that we can treasure forever.

Kate, Poetry Party guest

Your poetry is beautiful, inspiring, optimistic and reaches deep to bring out the best of people, and I really wanted to have your input into the project to help lift and direct it to new places.

Paul, People of the Hop Harvest

In my 20 years of working here I don’t think I’ve ever had more positive feedback on an event. You challenged the students, but in a safe, supported environment. They realised that they had a lot to give, as well as a lot to gain.

Tess, University of Leeds

A poet whose presence, way of reaching out to every member of her audience, and most of all her smile, create smiles all around her. Her leaps of imagination take the breath away. Her recurring imagery draws a safety-net of light around her listeners and readers.

Stuart, Verve Poetry Press

Beth has the innate ability to capture a feeling and make you feel safe within it. If poetry could hold your hand, this is what it would feel like.

Malaika Kegode, award-winning writer

Beth Calverley is a distinctive and necessary voice. Her subject is happiness – not the cliched version but the hard won and realistic sort with all its difficulties visible.

Tom Sastry, 2016 Laureate’s Choice poet

My niece still carries the poem Beth wrote for her everyday. She was going through a hard time at school and the words have given her strength to power through it all.

Beatrice, Poetry Machine guest

It is very special to be able to bring Beth to the Poetry House in Ledbury so that she can offer her Poetry Machine experience to locals and tourists. Everyone who participated found the experience to be delightful, moving, enriching, stimulating and special.

Chloe – Director of Ledbury Poetry Festival