Over the last 30 years, Forward has worked hard to break down barriers in the poetry world, seeking to broaden the range of voices showcased through the Forward Prizes and by attempting to build mass, diverse audiences through National Poetry Day.

We want Forward Arts Foundation to be an inclusive place to work, and we want to make poetry an inclusive, welcoming, and accessible space for everyone. We know that there is significant inequality in our society and in the world at large, and we are conscious that many face numerous barriers to participation on the grounds of ethnicity, race, disability, socioeconomic background, sexual identity, gender, and religion or beliefs.

Our ambition is to develop inclusive programmes, projects and public platforms that, through poetry, bring people together from different experiences and backgrounds.

We want to challenge ourselves as an organisation, reflecting regularly on our own practice and ensuring that we showcase and support the diversity of the UK, Ireland and the global arts community in everything we do. We know we will get things wrong along the way. We commit to learning from our mistakes and actively challenging ourselves to put inclusivity at the heart of decision making.

We are developing a new policy and action plan on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and we will publish it here in January 2023. It sets out the changes we have made and will continue to make in our organisation; and the steps we are taking to make our programmes more inclusive, finding ways of challenging the traditional hierarchies that continue to exist in literature and the broader cultural sector and connecting with poetry, poets and potential poets in new ways.

We, the board and the staff at Forward, will challenge ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for taking steps to achieve the changes we have committed to making. We would like you to hold us accountable too. We welcome your comments on what we do and how we could do things differently at info@forwardartsfoundation.org.

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