Emily Barker

In September 2021, I spent five days at Hawkwood hiding away writing songs and poems as part of their residency artist programme.

I had a cosy room for sleeping with a view over the valley, and a gorgeous work space with wooden floorboards, high ceilings, desk, chairs, and a beautiful grand piano. I moved in with my guitar, notebooks, computer and simple recording setup and buried myself in writing.

Escaping the day-to-day, I found I was able to devote my time to creating in a way I find harder to do from home. Also, having three meals a day plus snacks provided frees up at least a couple of hours a day! And the food is mind-blowingly good by the way (they catered with ease for my gluten-free, vegetarian fusspot diet).

The grounds are conducive to getting in the zone too with views across fields and woods, ancient trees to sit under, a natural water spring, and stunning gardens.

During my time there, I wrote a couple of poems, one song, and started another song. I would have happily stayed there longer. The poems will go towards a collection I’m gradually piecing together, and one of them has been nominated for a big poetry prize which at the time of writing I can’t name. The song/s will form part of an album I hope to record with my Stroud-based band in 2022.

Since the residency, I’ve continued to work towards the poetry collection and album. I found having the five days at Hawkwood incredibly inspiring. My time there got me on track in a way that is still playing out a couple of months later.

The application process was very straightforward and not too time consuming. I would recommend artists of any discipline apply. I certainly will be again!

Full credit to Emily Barker and her amazing work, to find out more visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify. With thanks to the DCMS & Arts Council England for their funding.


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