Poetic Portraits – Creative Workshop Opportunity

poetic portraits

Please note: Registrations have now closed.

Are you 50+ and interested in writing poetry? Join a group of like-minded people to explore your life experience and ideas through a FREE poetry workshop led by a professional poet.

Yarra Ranges Council in partnership with RMIT and Deakin Universities is calling for Yarra Ranges residents, of any cultural background, to be part of the Poetic Portraits project.

The project aims to use poetry as a creative platform through which to connect and instil a sense of sharing and belonging. As well as generating creative outcomes, the project aims to combat harmful, ageist stereotypes through the sharing of lived experiences.

The workshop will take place at the Yarra Ranges Council Civic Centre in Lilydale on Saturday 13 May 10am – 3.30pm with an individual follow up session 3 weeks later. Lunch will be provided on the day.

Final poems by participants, along with portraits of the participants produced by a local visual artist, will be presented in an exhibition and book publication, both of which will be launched for the Over 50’s Festival and run throughout the month of October in the Civic Centre foyer.

About the Poetic Portraits

Working in partnership with five Victorian outer metro and regional councils, ‘Poetic Portraits’ promotes poetry as a way to connect with and convey the experiences of Victorians, and also to strengthen community wellbeing. The project aims to recognise and raise awareness of the diversity of issues experienced by the Australian population, including loneliness, isolation and belonging.

By conducting workshops and interviews, and writing poems with members of the community, this project uses poetry as a creative platform through which to connect otherwise disconnected communities to instil a sense of sharing, belonging and catharsis through creativity. By giving people and communities a voice—through art-making and arts practice that is then shared widely in and beyond that community—we hope to use the power of poetry and poetry-making to enact social change.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. It is also supported by RMIT Culture.

Why get involved

  • Meet a group of like-minded individuals interested in poetry and wellbeing
  • Share your ideas, understandings and/or experiences in a safe and respectful environment
  • Develop your poetry skills and sense of creative self-expression
  • Have your poems published in a book, and your portrait created by an artist
  • Be part of an exhibition and enjoy the exhibition launch event
  • Help others to shift their perceptions of what life is like over 50.

What is involved?

  •  Attend a face-to-face poetry workshop in Lilydale on Saturday 13 May;
  • Attend an online/in person follow-up session (1.5 hours) three weeks later;
  • Have a confidential meeting with a workshop leader (15-20 minutes, online or over the phone);
  • Participate in writing exercises and meetings in order to develop your own poems, and collaborate with the group in developing a collective, community-written poem; 
  • Correspond briefly with the project leaders via email or phone in the final stages of the project, as they prepare the poems for publication; 
  • Meet with an artist or photographer who will develop your portrait for the book and exhibition;
  • Be part of an exhibition of poems and portraits which will be launched for the Over 50’s Festival across Yarra Ranges in October;
  • Participants will be paid a nominal fee for their individual and/or collaboratively-produced poem/s as a ‘publication fee’. 


Further Information

While we encourage participants of non-English speaking backgrounds to join, the workshops will be conducted in English. However, participants do not have to be proficient in written English, as the workshop leaders will help in the development of all participants’ ideas to the written page.