Purposes and Policy
what effect poverty has on the mind?’
Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own, 1928
The Trust was registered as a charity in 1995 and has been active since 2002. We appoint women over the age of 40 who need time in which to start, continue or complete interesting or innovative work in English dealing with any subject whatsoever.
We are now beginning also to appoint women artists who work on a small scale (our studio is small) using words and letter-forms in some way; illustration, animation, cartoons, graphic books, calligraphy or media work we haven’t thought of. Similarly, we wish to host composers using sound and words. Our criteria of age and contract for public dissemination apply.
The Trust is now well established and we have hosted an almost uninterrupted series of writers since 2002. This has included novelists and short story writers, poets, film and television script writers and producers, photo-journalists, biographers, historians of gardens, street markets, films and medicine, yoga practitioners, hat-makers, theologians and performance artists; we collaborate on appointments and funding with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Coventry University Department of Arts and Humanities. (See Residencies)
We aim to appoint women of mature originality who have some sort of need, whether personal or financial, or who may be tired and simply need time and peace. We are confident we are unique, we believe we are needed and we know that the scheme works.
Criteria for appointment to a residency
To be aged forty or over and to write in English.
Professionalism encompassing originality, ability, ambition and experience.
Need implying financial need, or political, medical or mental need or the need of many women for a period of domestic peace in which to work undisturbed.
An agreed legal contract for publication, broadcast, performance or any other form of public dissemination, so that the work undertaken will emerge into the public domain and not remain in a bottom drawer merely as an intention. We usually expect writers (and artists and composers) to be represented by an agent and to have the commitment of their publisher.
Most writers come from the UK or Ireland but applicants from outside the UK need to have a reason to visit, such as original research or attendance at conferences or performances.
Most appointments are for single women. If applicants wish to introduce partners, this must be by prior agreement with HHT. Pets are welcome.
What we offer
We offer Church Cottage in Clifford Chambers which is a village within two miles of Stratford-upon-Avon. The Cottage is dated 1760 and Grade II listed; it is beside the churchyard and consists of a lower and upper room each about fifteen feet square. In 2019, we built onto the Cottage a small studio/workroom with good light which enables us to host artists and composers. The Cottage is comfortable, private and well-appointed with kitchen and work areas, television and a comfortable bedroom, also a tiny garden, access to another garden and a rowing boat on the nearby River Stour. We pay all the running costs and there is broadband, Wifi, and a printer available. The resident’s time is her own entirely, there are no duties except to give the trustees a written report on leaving. Residents are asked to sign a basic contract of agreement.
Duration of residencies
This depends on the varied circumstances of our applicants and vary from one week to three months. Residents may return up to three times.
We administer the Skoyles Bursaries Fund, made available by the Foyle Foundation so we offer bursaries up to £1,000pcm, and this should be tax free (qualifying as a prize, not a salary or payment). Sometimes, we broker writer support from Arts Council England, annually we host a poet appointment made by the SBT and two appointments made by Coventry University. One way or another, writers who need money are usually supported.
Occasionally a writer has a need for peace and privacy to the extent they pay us a commercial rent, and this we welcome, but all financial arrangements with individuals are confidential.
Are we legal?
‘I was thinking of the safety and prosperity of one sex and the poverty and insecurity of the other‘. Ibid
Even after eighty years’ progress, gender equality is still not fully achieved. We shall offer residencies to men when earnings between men and women are equal according to national assessment and this, in common with various other gender specific institutions, makes us legally acceptable.
What do we get in return?
We require that residents acknowledge us in all published or performed work and give us a copy of the resulting book, film, programme or recording. Also, that we are included in personal websites, with a link to our website, and on social media. These acknowledgements are obligatory.
How we find our writers and how writers find us
We have advertised three times, in 2002, 2007 and 2010 but since then, writers have tended to find us by Internet access, general publicity and word of mouth. We hold some public events and have produced two publications which have made us more widely known.
See the page How to Apply
Ultimate aims and intentions
Further to maintaining our current annual programme, we would like to buy more property and create residencies for visual artists and composers. This depends upon capital and this is difficult, though we hope not impossible, to obtain. We are seeking further funding for staff development.
Quotations from A Room of One’s Own are by permission of the Society of Authors as the literary representatives of the estate of Virginia Woolf.