Projects & partners

The Scottish Poetry Library rarely walks alone; it works with a wide variety of partners – from Maggie’s Centres to the Royal Collection to Strathclyde Partnership for Transport – to deliver the benefits and delights of poetry.

Current projects

Literatary Europe Live

Literary Europe Live brings together sixteen literary festivals and venues from around Europe to foster and encourage programming that reflects the richness and diversity of the European literary landscape. It will also highlight and support outstanding emerging literary talent and develop live and digital audiences for writing in translation.

Literary Europe Live was selected for funding under the new Platforms strand of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Through the Literary Europe Live project the Literature Across Frontiers platform will:

  • create a forum for debate of shared European topics;
  • foster the development and recognition of emerging literary creators such as writers, translators and literary curators by providing them with international opportunities and highlighting the most outstanding talent in all genres;
  • develop a quality label to recognize Europe-wide programming and innovative dissemination of European literary works;
  • cooperate with a range of partners to present European writing in all its diversity to audiences across Europe and beyond, and to give professionals working in the field of literature opportunities to share ideas, experiences and information.

The first year of the project will see over thirty events organised in the members’ countries featuring more than three hundred literary creators and professionals. There will be also events presenting European literature in China and India, and an international audience development forum which will bring together professionals working in the field of international literature across Europe.

Including the SPL, Platform members participating in the project are:

Anadolu Kültür – Diyarbakir Art Centre, TR
Bangor University / Wales International Poetry Festival, GB
Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture, ES
Biuro Literackie / Literary Bureau, PL
Booktailors – Bookoffice, PT
Croatian Writers’ Society / Festival of the European Short Story, HR
Inizjamed / Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, MT
Kulturtreger / Booksa, HR
Literaturwerkstatt / Berlin Poetry Festival, DE
Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, GB
Oslo International Poetry Festival, NO
Passa Porta / International House of Literature in Brussels, BE
Petöfi Literary Museum, HU
Slovenian Writers’ Association / Vilenica International Literary Festival, SI

Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors

Graduating medical students 2014, (c) University of Dundee

Tools of the Trade is a pocket-sized anthology of around 50 poems and extracts. It is edited by doctors, includes poems by doctor-poets, and has been made possible entirely by private donations, many from GPs or their families. It is a gift from the medical community to future colleagues;  it was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and in 2015.

As well as the goodwill and administrative help of the four medical schools in Scotland, there's been a wonderful response to this book from across the UK and further afield. Coverage in 2014 including a lovely blog by Dr Richard Smith at the BMJ, Daisy Goodwin's Sunday Times column, and a segment on Radio 4's Front Row helped spread the word so successfully that the small proportion of copies set aside for sale in 2014 & 2015 was entirely sold out!  You can, however, read many (though not all) of the poems in that edition online.

The book was so warmly received that, with the generous support of first edition buyers and the Royal College of General Practitioners in Scotland and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, a second edition has been produced, for all doctors graduating in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

If you would like a copy of the new edition, and/or would like to make a donation towards costs for the next three years, please look at the book in our online Shop.

If you are a new doctor who received one of these poetry books, we'd be delighted if you could take a few minutes to email us some feedback to help us plan future editions. Would you like to see future doctors receive this book? What is the poem you reread most? 

Baring ‘Late Style’ Artists Commissions


We are currently working with poets Douglas Dunn, Vicki Feaver and Diana Hendry on a commission to write on the theme of age. Selections from their work can be seen in:

  • Whatever the Sea: Scottish poems for growing older, an anthology from Polygon/Birlinn (September 2016) 
  • Scottish Review of Books (August 2015 issue)
  • the programme for the 2015 Luminate Festival (Scotland’s creative ageing festival: see from September 2015)
  • Second Wind, the 9th issue in the Saltire Society’s most recent pamphlet series (launched 15 October 2015 and on sale in our shop)

Further development of the work is under discussion.

This new work is part of The Baring Foundation’s  'Late Style' Artists Commissions Series. The Baring Foundation has pioneered support for a wide range of arts programmes supporting older people to enjoy and take part in the arts.  This series supports leading professional artists, all of whom are over 70,  to bring their original and exceptional artistic craft and  insights to the theme of 'Age'. Eleven new works will reach a variety of spaces and audiences, between 2015 – 2017. Artists include leaders in the fields of Carnival Arts, Dance and Choreography, Digital Arts, Sculpture, Wood Carving, Musical Composition, Theatre and  Poetry. 

As the only literature commission in this new commission series, and one of only two commissions based in Scotland, this is an exciting development in our work and we are delighted that it is being supported by The Baring Foundation.

'In the current climate of public debate, the topic of ageing is often reduced to questions of cost and  care, and  creativity is linked with youth, while older creative artists still frequently seem to be portrayed as the exception. We’re proud to be celebrating the new work of  three such significant and consistently inventive writers who confound restrictive perceptions.' – Kate Organ, Arts Adviser, The Baring Foundation

Promoting Equalities Programme

We are looking at equalities and access in the Scottish Poetry Library, with support from Creative Scotland's pilot Promoting Equalities Programme. The first artist residency, to help us explore how we could improve services for all library users, is with Kyra Pollitt, BSL interpreter and poetry researcher, and artist. BSL poet Gary Quinn, English/Shetlandic poet Christine De Luca and Kyra, with kinetic titling by Interface 3, made this moving poem film.

The film was on show at a range of venues in autumn 2014, including: Macrobert Centre, Stirling:  25 September - 9 October:  TV screens in the cafe bar area, and in the cinema before films; Dundee Literary Festival, 22-26 October: on a loop in the Festival foyer in Bonar Hall; Wordplay, Shetland's annual book festival, 12-16 November: in the festival venues.

Meanwhile, you can read Kyra's comment on the making of the film on our blog here.

Living Voices

Working with the Scottish Storytelling Centre in care homes and with senior groups

The Scottish Poetry Library is continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Storytelling Centre to develop our worki with older people and in care homes.  Following a successful pilot phase 2012-14 we are running an exciting programme in 2015 focussing on training and development with care staff and working with a range of new audiences. Our work in 2015 is funded by  the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. The project manager is Martha Pollard.  For more information and to read evaluation reports about the pilot visit our 'for carers' page or get in touch with Martha at

Creative Scotland National Lottery logo

Our partner organisations

We welcome initiatives involving poetry, as in recent projects with the new Crichton Hospital and (separately!) Scottish Badgers. Please get in touch with us if you think we could extend and enhance your project.

Cultural agencies

  • British Council
  • Literature Across Frontiers


  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • StAnza
  • Ullapool Book Festival and The Ceilidh Place
  • Wigtown Book Festival

Literature & arts organisations

  • Arvon Foundation at Moniack Mhor
  • Confab (Glasgow)
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • Forward Foundation / National Poetry Day
  • Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Northern Poetry Library
  • Poetry Association of Scotland
  • Poetry Society
  • School of Poets
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Storytelling Centre

Local authorities

  • City of Edinburgh Council

National institutions

  • BBC
  • Historic Scotland
  • National Galleries of Scotland
  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Scottish Parliament


  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of the West of Scotland