PoetsIN is growing quickly. This page introduces the people who support and encompass what we do. Helping us grow, spread the word(s), and helping us to change lives. This page is a space to celebrate the ambassadors who we are eternally grateful to have on board.
This page will be updated on a regular basis as we get the information we need from our newest ambassadors and gain new ones, so be sure check back regularly.
My name is Peter Watt and I am a portrait, music and events photographer based in North Hertfordshire. I have been a professional photographer for approximately 30 years.
After Art College in the 1980s I freelanced as a photographer, which included a full time freelance position with the BBC in their photographic studio at TV Centre. There was a major economic recession in 1990 that made me realise I needed a ‘permanently employed’ job as opposed to freelance, so I began looking around. I saw an advert in the British Journal of Photography for the position of photographer within the Metropolitan Police Service. I didn’t know anything about the type of work involved (although I could kinda guess), so I applied… and was successful. I was one of twelve photographers employed to join a huge photographic department of approximately 100 photographers. The work was extremely varied, hard, exhausting and rewarding. It was mainly involved with crime scene evidence, although it also included areas such as video production, hand printing, studio photography and learning and development. Over the next 24 years I travelled all over the world, learned new skills to a high level, undertook more personal education and learning and generally developed my skills as a photographer, leader and educator. I ended my career whilst Head of Forensic Training at the Met’s Crime Academy. Since 2014 I have worked as a photographic demonstrator at Central Bedfordshire College before ill health forced me to resign. That is when I decided to go full circle and back to my roots as a freelance photographer. I decided to focus on what I loved (pun intended), photographing people. I can honestly say that after all of these decades, I still love what I do.
When I left the MPS after 24 years I simply wrote on my leaving do invitation: ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. My job was one of extremes…. Of cruelty and kindness. I witnessed the worst of humanity, but also some of the best examples of what makes us good. Kindness, love, humour and endurance. My main emphasis with others is to be as kind as possible. Kindness to others who you interact with, which ultimately is kindness to oneself, is often overlooked and under valued. If you treat people poorly you can only ever expect to be treated poorly in return. At the heart of PoetsIN is kindness. I like that
Be as professional, discreet and kind (there’s that word again) as possible. I did my job to the best of my photographic and personal ability. Which wasn’t always easy I hasten to add. Sometimes I failed but endeavoured to realise why I had failed. Sometimes though, stuff just happens that cannot be avoided and is nobody’s fault.
One word I would use to describe my photography is ‘dark’. Now, no doubt some physiologist would say that it reflects my experiences. It doesn’t. My images have always been dark…. Moody skies, silhouettes, shadows, low light etc. It is simply a look I like. I would also say that I like to capture the real person when doing portraits. I seem to be able to put people at ease that then allows the inner them to appear. I just like talking to people and learning about them. I did fall out of love with photography for a few years because I was just exhausted. That said, I have always undertaken my own photography (other than work). I photograph things that please me, and these days I am quite selective in what I choose to photograph.
Most of us spend our lives ‘transforming’ to perform a task such as our job or hobby, or to behave a certain way with people. This process of transformation interests me. I suppose one of the things I learned from my crime scene photography days is that you never know what goes on behind closed doors! So, I like to photograph people in their normal environment (living room for example) but having gone through their transformation. For example: an image of a clown with full make up, ironing their trousers in the comfort of their bedroom.
I hated school! I wasn’t academic, didn’t really like the teachers and found ‘important’ subjects hard. But I loved art and technical drawing. Through these subjects I was able to go to Art College. At the time my only other option was to try and join the RAF. It was at Art College that I developed as a person, and discovered photography. My one defining creative moment was the first time I hand printed a photograph I had taken an hour earlier. To expose a piece of paper to light, stick it in a tray of liquid that smelt like vinegar and then to see my picture appear was…. Magic. The discovery of my creativity and being allowed to express it changed my life. This is why I loved teaching people photography and I understand the importance of what PoetsIN does…. Allowing people to experience and discover things they didn’t know existed within them. That’s just cool.
I am a humanist, a believer in the judicial process and a lover of anything creative. PoetsIN plays a key role in the rehabilitation and development of people who are willing to engage and to tap into their inner creative self, which often lies dormant. The one person any of us can ever rely on is ourselves, and occasionally we just need a little push and support to open up our minds to a huge amount of thoughts and possibilities. I suppose today it would be called ‘mindfulness’, but self-awareness is nothing new. We all need help in deciding on how to help each other and ourselves which then leads to self-belief, pride and the understanding of the importance kindness. I am proud to support endeavours such as PoetsIN that simply puts the wellbeing of people as their top priority.
PoetsIN opens up new possibilities for individuals to explore their own minds and creativity. They provide the support and energy that some people need assistance with. From my observations, the charity’s endeavours are extremely well received and are supported across the board, because the value of what they do is recognised.
After several meetings to help me to understand what PoetsIN is, I was honoured to be invited to one of their sessions at Peterborough Prison, to photographically document one of their many creative writing sessions. The aim of the images is to illustrate a PoetsIN book that will also be supported by a small exhibition. I am excited at the prospect of undertaking more of these photographic projects for PoetsIN that supports them and pushes my own boundaries. I also hope to forge more contacts and supporters for the charity that will help it grow.
I’m Adam and I am an events manager at the iconic London venue, Nambucca. I have worked in or around music for the best part of 15 years. I Have a great passion for music, creativity, individuality, and philanthropy. I love to colour outside the lines – that would be the best way to describe me.
I had my deepest, darkest moments with anxiety and depression when I was younger, and my outlets were very self-destructive; if the social stigma gets lifted and we can encourage positive creative outlets for others, I have to be a part of that. I can truly empathise with anyone who is living with this; it does get better, but we all need our anchor so that we don’t drift out too far and I cannot advocate enough how important a creative release can be in the aid of recovery.
Between my live music promotions, venue contacts, and the artists I’ve worked with, as an ambassador for PoetsIN, I think we can spread the awareness far and wide in many ways, shapes, and forms – be it fundraisers, t-shirts, ticket sales, donations etc. I am also involved in many other great events like celebrity soccer six and various festivals, so can certainly help promote the charity to a very creative circle of people. I do have more definite plans for the charity, but you will all just have to wait for the announcement… no spoilers here, I’m afraid.
The adage “music heals everything” could not be more relevant today. A massive part of my recovery, alongside my wonderful fiancée, was song writing and poetry. It was only for myself and a few band rehearsals, but it really does empty out the proverbial “locker.” So yes, I think to see someone sing and just leave themselves totally exposed and raw is a real privilege and something I will never get tired of.
My relationship with music has always had a form of expressionism. Not always a healthy outlet but an outlet all the same. However, it has led me to everything positive in my life, the great people I know, my great job, my fiancée and me… it really did allow me to explore who I am and where I belong in this world.
I love classic rock AC/DC, Led Zep, The Doors, Kansas, Motorhead… I could go on. If I’m on my own that’s what I’ll listen to. I have a love for all forms of music (except pop…YUCK); some days I listen to classical, some days indie, some days hip hop. I love the blues, and of course, I live and breathe indie.
Going back recently, 4/5 years ago when I started writing everything as it popped into my head, I realised the true power of words. I had years of pent up angst, depression, and self-loathing and I thought it was wrong to have or share these feelings with others. But the moment I started writing I just felt the weight fall off my shoulders.
I do believe sometimes we don’t like sharing with others, but just putting those feelings on paper and closing the book, you really can start to offload years of pent up feelings. A pen, a pad, and some time really can be the room 101 for all those unwanted emotions and can open up a new path.
Being an ambassador to PoetsIN means there is hope. Hope that the stigma of anxiety and depression will soon be lifted. Having struggled with it for many years, I only wish there was something like this when I was younger. I cannot advocate enough that a creative path is a giant leap forward in and amongst the angst of this terrible human condition society still finds so taboo.
Adam has spent the last 15 years working as a promoter, events and venue manager, PR, Marketing, Band, and Tour manager. He has spent time as an Indie & Rock n Roll DJ, playing shows for XFM, BBC Radio, Countless festivals, Club nights, and as the only Indie DJ in Greece. Currently, he resides as the events manager for Nambucca, London; along with being the head booker for Celebrity Soccer Six and Indie club night owner of Generation Next.
Be sure to follow Adam’s Generation Next page, here.
Ayup My name’s Jamie Thrasivoulou. When I was younger I dreamt of becoming a rock star singer in a band. Although the ‘joining a band’ bit happened, the ‘becoming a rock star’ element completely eluded me and instead I found myself in a load of bother with the law. I’m now out of the other side of the system and these days I’ve mostly readjusted my ambitions and have managed to blag my way to becoming a poet, writer and educator.
I’ve been published many times by many lovely people who I can only assume were mesmorised by my Derby dialect and command of the East Midlands’ street slang. My first collection The Best Of A Bad Situation was released in 2017 through Silhouette Press. Antony Owen in the ‘Morning Star’ named it as one of the top 5 poetry collections of the year.
I also run the live poetry and spoken word night Word Wise which is supported by Arts Council England. I’m one of the coordinators of the Derby Poetry Festival. In the past I’ve been lucky enough to host some amazing events where I’ve proudly presented the likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Salena Godden to namedrop a couple. I’ve also gigged extensively around the UK at festivals, punk gigs and poetry events, including venues as legendary as the 100 Club in London. I’ve appeared alongside poets as cool as Helen Mort, JB Barrington, Toria Garbutt and John Agard.
In 2017 I formed Word Wise Education CIC where I work alongside other poets to encourage people to be creative. I’m particularly interested in helping marginalised voices tell their stories. . I’ve taught in all manner of environments from primary schools and football clubs, through to pupil referral units and Prisons. I’m currently the Writer-In-Residence at HMP Foston Hall. I’m also the lead writer and poet for the Man-Up project with the excellent Restoke which will take place in 2018. In the past I’ve worked for Derby County and Leicester City F.C, and Derby and Sheffield Hallam Universities as well as many schools and pupil referral units.
I’ve appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Derby and BBC Introducing. A mini-album of poetry and musical collaborations with the Belfast producer Bloque Capitals is set for release in 2018.
I first heard about the ace work of ‘PoetsIN’ through one of my learners at HMP Foston Hall. I checked them out and got in touch regarding how we could work together in the future. From my own personal experience I’m very aware of the importance of the work they carry out and the positive impact that writing for mental wellbeing can have on those who participate. When PoetsIN asked me to become an ambassador for their charity I felt both proud and extremely privileged to be asked to represent such a forward thinking organisation. I look forward to working alongside them for many years to come.
Our huge thank you to Jamie, we cannot wait to begin working with you. In the meantime, if you want to know more about Jamie, you can find his website here. Or you can find him on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. If you want to grab a copy of his book, The Best of a Bad Situation (you should, we’ve read it, it’s great!) you can find it here.