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Charley Genever


I first got involved with Peterborough Presents through EMERGE, their young person’s training programme. I’d just graduated, with a degree in English Lit and Creative Writing. I came back to the city, didn’t know what I wanted to do, and they’d just launched the first round of this programme. 

It’s a six month training programme, where I learnt how to be a sustainable artist; be a creative producer; put on events and things like that. They put me on placements with Apples and Snakes and Cambridge Junction, and I learnt how to take all that good stuff and apply it to Peterborough. After finishing the training programme I then got the role as Marketing and Operations Assistant with Peterborough Presents. I’m producing one of our festivals this year, which is quite cool. 

Through doing the training programme and learning about funding applications, I got an Arts Council grant to put on my own poetry night. I got that because I applied for the small commissions through Peterborough Presents first, which meant I could pilot it before going for an Arts Council grant.

Without the programme I probably would have just stayed in retail and done the poetry stuff as a hobby on the side. But now I get to do it as a career, which is cool. The next thing I want to do is develop the city’s first collective for young poets and spoken word artists.

I think Peterborough Presents has brought the arts community a lot closer together. It’s made arts much more visible; it’s supported a lot of artists, and it’s been able to bring additional funding to the city. I think it’s had such a positive impact. Before, things were really separate and really underground, so if you weren’t part of the scene, you wouldn’t know about it.  I had no idea there was a poetry scene here, but now, through Peterborough Presents, it’s in your face, it’s everywhere – you can’t escape the poetry! 

Photo: Stephen King