I have made my living from writing since 1975 - journalism, non fiction, poetry, reviews, educational materials and marketing copy. I design residencies, run workshops for adults and young people and work as a mentor.
I've run workshops in schools, youth centres, a secure unit and Buckingham Palace for a diverse range of young people, including asylum seekers, those at risk of homelessness, carers, travellers and young people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties. I've contributed to research projects into creative learning and my work has been featured by the Poetry Society and Poetry Trust.
I am a freelance writer, associate lecturer in creative writing for the Open University and run a reading group for the Royal Literary Fund at Fabrica Gallery in Brighton. I have been Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the universities of Surrey and Sussex, tutor for the Creative Writing Programme in Brighton and visiting lecturer in creative non-fiction at Goldsmiths University. I was the first poet in residence at Unilever and have designed writing workshops for medical students, farmers, call centre staff, lawyers, GPs, substance misusers, arts administrators and educators. I was an associate lecturer for the University of Chichester's MA in creative writing and led the writing strand of a leadership course for Unilever and Arts&Business.
As a mentor, I have worked through the Poetry School and in business, supporting individuals wishing to develop their poetry, non fiction and professional writing.
I have run workshops with art galleries and artists, musicians and orchestras and taught residential writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and Ty Newydd National Writer's Centre for Wales. I have also worked for the Poetry School and produced educational materials for the Poetry Society and Poetry Trust.
My work has been used on a dress by designer Helen Storey and was featured in the London International Animation Festival 2006.
Publications and major projects:
• Woman's Head As Jug, Arc, 2013
• Commandments, Arc, 2007.
• 50 Poets for Oxfam, CD, ed. Todd Swift, 2006.
• The Book of Hopes and Dreams, ed. Dee Rimbaud, 2006. Anthology.
• Contraflower: A New Poetic Underground, ed. Sarah Annetts, Peter Johnson, Scriberazone, 2005. Anthology.
• The Poetry Cure ed. Julia Darling, Bloodaxe Books 2005. Anthology.
• Fever Tree, Arc, September 2003.
• Party, Leviathan, October 2000.
• The River Wey Project, University of Surrey, November 1999. Exhibition catalogue.
• Outside Left, Ha'penny Press, July 1999. Pamphlet.
• Powder Tower, Arc, September 1995 - Poetry Book Society Recommendation, shortlisted 1995 T.S. Eliot prize.
• In Dark Times, An Anthology of Poetry from the Echo Room 1985-95, Echo Room Press, 1995.
• As Girls Could Boast, Oscars Press anthology, 1994.
• Virago New Poets, Virago, 1993. Anthology.
• Agenda Anthology of New Poetry, 1992.
• Black Slingbacks, Slow Dancer Press, 1992. Pamphlet.
• Contributor, Fabrica The First 10 Years, Fabrica 2007.
• Missing the Nile, Editor, Queenspark Books – reminiscences of Sudanese refugees in Brighton, 2005.
• Contributor, New Retail, Octopus Publishing, by with Rasshied Din, a guide to retail interior design, 2000.
• Author, Merchandising and Buying Strategies, new roles for a global operation, Financial Times Retail and Consumer division, 1999.
• Royal Literary Fund Reading Round at Fabrica, October 2014-ongoing
• Pilot project with Rambert Dance for Chelsea and Westminster Health charity, 2013.
• Workshops for Dickens Social Reporters - life writing with young people in and around London, summer 2013.
• Gallery events/education programme, Fabrica, for Anish Kapoor’s Blood Relations, May 2009 with artist Jane Fordham.
* Buckingham Palace, 2007, writing workshop
• NAWE Research Project, Writers In Schools: Pensans Primary School, Cornwall, Felpham Community College, West Sussex, spring/summer 2007.
• Jan.2007 – London Symphony Orchestra: On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams. Creating text and music with young people in response to John Adams’ composition.
• Feb. – July 06: Creative Partnerships, Bourne School, Eastbourne
• March – May 06: Poet in the City, Morpeth Secondary School, London.
• March 05: Poet in the City, Tower Hamlets, London.
• September 04 – Feb. 05: Poet in Residence, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.
• September 04: Chichester Festival Theatre, BBC Concert Orchestra, Elgar’s Portraits project
• March 04: Surrey Hills, Inspiring Views with potter and musician.
• November 2003: Museum of London/London Underground ART IN PUBLIC PLACES.
• October 2003: writer in residence, Mole Valley Literature Festival, Surrey.
• September 2003: Poetry Society South West Roadshow.
• Nov.2002 – June 2003. Treloar College, Alton, Hampshire. Roald Dahl Foundation writer in Residence working with young people with multiple disabilities.
• May 2003 – December 2003. Workshops, young asylum seekers, Chichester.
• December 2002 - March 2003: BBC Southern Counties Radio Appetite project.
• Nov. 2002 - December 2002. Brighton & Hove Museums. Black Box project, ex-offenders and rough sleepers.
• October 2002 - Peckham. Tower Hamlets Education Action Zone.
• Sept. 02 - Hastings College, workshops with asylum seekers.
• June 2002 - ArchiTexts residency, Shoreham Airport, Architecture Week.
• March 2001 - March 2002: ‘Big Break’ poet’s diary for BBC News Online.
• July 2001: Fabrica gallery, Brighton, residency during Pulp, Artstation installation.
• May - June 2001: Fabrica gallery, Brighton, residency during installation by textile artist Machiko Agano, Textural Space 2001. .
• April - October 2001: Lever Faberge, UK..
• April - November 2000: Innovations team, Lever Brothers, UK.
• September - November 2000: Year of the Artist filmed poem residency, on youth bus.
• March 2000: West Sussex County Council Millenium Internet youth tapestry.
• March - May 2000: Sea of Dreams, Surrey County Council:1,000 banners and poems by the community.
• January 2000: Barbican Centre, London, Dreamspaces. Working with four other poets with children to generate poems used for cantata, performed at Barbican in September 2000.
• June 1999: Beechfield secure unit, Crawley, West Sussex. Voyage Into Books.
• April - October 1999: Surrey Hills, Poetry Society Poetry Places.
• Rice Pavilion – a poem. Jubilee Library, Brighton, August 2007.
• Farnham Maltings, Festival of Words, poem for a path – Julian Belmonte, potter, 2007.
• Alphabetic: Project Poetry! The South - poem for animation, 2003/4 (2006 British Panorama, London International Animation Festival). Shortlisted Komedia Final Cut Film of the Year 2009.
• Table Service, The Sanctuary Café, Hove, 2003, poem for walls.
• Brand New Art, Unilever/Lever Faberge, January 2003: poems for management offices, Kingston on Thames.
• Brand New Art, Helen Storey, January 2003, poem for a dress.
• South East Museums service, January 2003: Black Box project.
• Waverley Borough Council, December 2001: Broadwater Oak.
• PULP, Fabrica gallery, Brighton, July/August 2001.
• Lever Brothers, October 2000: poem card National Poetry Day.
• Kent County Council, November 1999: North Downs Way.
• Surrey University, November 1999: River Wey project.
• Royal Literary Fund Fellow, University of Sussex Sept 10-May 11
• Royal Literary Fund Fellow, University of Surrey Sept 09-May10
• University of Chichester, associate lecturer, MA creative writing Oct-Dec 09
• University College, Falmouth, writer, history of the organisation (08-9)
• University College, Falmouth, copywriter, strategic policy (08)
• Copywriting/research, Creamer and Lloyd/Unilever/Arts Council of England (08)
• Copywriting/editing, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (08)
• Copywriting/editing, KPMG (08)
• Copywriting, Chartered Institute of Housing (08)
• Writing tutor in business, schools, community since 1999.
• Associate lecturer, Creative Writing, Open University, Dec. 05
• Freelance copywriter/editor: WordWorks, Institute of Housing, Hub 100, Phoenix Fund, Oyster Healthcare, University of Cambridge
• External Examiner, Department of English and American Studies, The University of Manchester, 1999 – 2000.
• Researcher Channel 4 Programme support, 2002
• Columnist, Times Educational Supplement, September - December 2000.
• Features editor/writer for miscellaneous business & special interest magazines, including Local Government Chronicle, Draper’s Record, Retail Week, Times Educational Supplement, New Socialist June 1986 - June 1999.
• Highly Commended, Periodical Publishers Association Hill Samuel Writer of the Year (Business and Professional Magazines) May 1994.
• LOGIS Local Government Journalist of the Year (Journals) July 1991.
• LOGIS Local Government Feature Writer of the Year (Journals) July 1990.
• November 1985 - June 1986, reporter, INS News Agency, Reading.
• October 1978 - November 1985, reporter, Surrey Advertiser, Guildford.
Adults/business: Brighton & Sussex Medical School, Cardboard Citizens at St Mungo’s hostel, Earl’s Court, Barbican, Allen & Overy, West Dean College, Chichester, Marks & Spencer plc, Imberhorne School, INSET – East Grinstead, Arts Council of England Enquire programme, The Writer, Fabrica Gallery, Brighton, Eurotunnel (winner of Arts & Business SE 2006 award for best use of the arts), Unilever/Lever Faberge (shortlisted for the 2007 Arts and Business Employee Awards), Surrey University, PPP Healthcare, Clifford Chance, West Sussex CC Museum curators, Common Purpose, Arts & Business SE, De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, Mole Valley Poets, Slipstream Poets, Arvon Foundation Devon & Somerset, Ty Newydd the National Writing Centre of Wales.
Schools/young people: Gatton Park Education Trust, Surrey, Arts Council of England Enquire programme, Creative Partnerships, Adur Festival, Poetry Society (Poet in the City project), Poetry Trust (Aldeburgh Poetry festival outreach), East & West Sussex CC Gifted and Talented programme, East Brighton, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Peckham Education Action Zones, Bethnal Green Technology College, East Sussex Young Carers, Horsham Festival, Chichester Festival Theatre, Ty Newydd, the National Writing Centre of Wales.
Jackie Wills worked with us for two sessions in 2002. The first was the Artist in Residence post where she worked for a week with Year 8 students. She handled a wide range of ability, attitude, different ethnic backgrounds and children who speak 57 different languages at different levels of English with flair, humour and intellectual challenge. All students involved, around 250 in all, wrote poems on the theme of identity. Jackie prepared well in advance and structured each learning and writing session in an imaginative way. The students enjoyed working with her and were very proud of their results.
In the summer Jackie worked with us in the Summer Science School for the gifted and telented. She prepared poetry writing with Scientists and also took part in a wide range of other activities with students in Year 7 and 8.
She remained calm and collected through a hectic three days. Again students produced some interesting pieces.
I would recommend Jackie Wills to any school who wish to enhance the creative learning experience of young people. She is an excellent poet herself; listens effectively to the demands and challenges of students; and is able to encourage even the most reluctant to take part in the process of poetry writing.
Loxford School of Science and Technology, Essex
Jackie has visited Imberhorne School on a number of occasions over the past ten years. We keep asking her to come back because of the excellent work that she does. She has worked in all key stages; she provides stimulating, imaginative and enjoyable exercises for the students and they produce work of a very high standard. Jackie's student management skills are very good indeed; she is firm, patient and clear about her expectations. She has a lot of experience working with children and young adults and she clearly enjoys the work; these factors contribute to the positive working environment she creates in her workshops.
As well as running workshops for students, Jackie has also run a writing workshop for teachers. This was incredibly popular and we are looking forward to the opportunity to set this up again.
Jackie is highly professional in her approach to her work; she is reliable and helpful at all stages of the process of arranging a visit. We love her own poetry and we look forward to seeing her here again soon.
Head of English, Imberhorne School, West Sussex
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