Picture the Poet supported by the Arts Council Strategic Touring Fund

Picture the Poet is an exhibition of high quality photographs of living poets touring to six regional venues over three years. The project has been developed by the National Portrait Gallery working in collaboration with museum partners and theNational Literacy Trust and Apples and Snakes to develop a targeted learning, participation and audience development programme at each regional venue to increase engagement with poets, poetry and photography. Partnership working is central to the project model and underpins its effective delivery.

The initial selection of portraits in the exhibition was influenced by the National Portrait Gallery’s Youth Forum through an active consultation process. The selection of works in the exhibition continues to be modified by each partner to maximise local relevance and interest. All partners are committed to using the exhibition as a resource to support the development of young people’s literacy and cultural literacy skills within local schools and to build new audiences, particularly young people, for the museum. 

The National Literacy Trust is providing extensive expertise and support for all primary and secondary schools in each region to enable them to develop a highly engaging, effective and sustainable model for teaching literacy inspired by photographic portraiture.

Apples and Snakes, the performance poetry organisation, and venue partners are working together to develop participatory programmes for young people including public programmes and a photography project for each venue with the involvement of local organisations with an interest in poetry and photography.

Where possible across the partnership, the programmes are engaging library visitors who are currently non-arts attendees as many of the partner museums are near or co-located with a library. The project is aiming to support ongoing networks with local providers and stakeholders.

The National Portrait Gallery is working with engage to develop a national CPD programme to share experience and support practice development nationally and regionally beyond the partnership. We hope this will enable the wider gallery education sector to explore the project experience and learn from different perspectives.

Liz Smith
Director of Participation and Learning

Laura Down
Head of National Programmes

Project Partners


Venue Partners