A living archive for spoken word and performance poetry; preserving a cultural heritage that has reflected and influenced many social and political movements over the last 30-plus years including rare sound and video recordings, photographs and press cuttings.

The Living Archive will catalogue and digitalise the extensive archive of materials collected since Apples and Snakes was founded in 1982. This collection will be augmented with new acquisitions and recorded interviews with key artists and individuals who have contributed to Apples and Snakes’ development and to the development of the artform as a whole. It will be made publicly available through a bespoke, interactive website for everyone to enjoy.

Archive-flyers-500“The archive will present a fascinating insight into the development of this artform within a fast changing social and political context, and it [will] give old professors like me a place to send students who wish to understand the history of what they are doing”Benjamin Zephaniah.


Early publicity materials promote the then-relatively-unknown names of Phill Jupitus, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jackie Kay, Craig Charles, and Linton Kwesi Johnson, whilst unseen photographs show major artists, such as Adrian Mitchell and Apples and Snakes’ patron Michael Rosen.

“For over 30 years, Apples and Snakes has been the foremost clearing-house and promoter of new poetry and newcomer performers. With principle and commitment they have encouraged poets from a range of backgrounds that truly represents the ethnicity of the UK”Michael Rosen.

Features on the Apples and Snakes blog throughout the upcoming year will include individual objects from the archive collection highlighting and discussing the significance of a particular item of interest. And we’ll be putting a call out on Facebook and Twitter for you to get involved and #AddToTheArchive.

Apples and Snakes are thrilled to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a Living Archive for Spoken Word and Performance Poetry.english_compact_black