Become the Chair of our Board of Trustees

Abdilatif Abdalla at the Translating Poetries symposium, SOAS, September 2019

‘[The Poetry Translation Centre] extends the territory of English poetry... generous translations that make welcome the magnificent poetic traditions of many communities now settled here.’

– Carol Ann Duffy, patron of the PTC

The Poetry Translation Centre is seeking a new Chair for our Board of Trustees. Our ideal candidate is someone with demonstrable leadership experience who can confidently steer the PTC through a period of growth and transition. You already have experience of serving on the board of a charity; you have knowledge of governance and charity law; you are able to commit several hours a week; and you believe wholeheartedly in the work of the PTC. We are particularly interested to hear from candidates from Asian and African diaspora heritage backgrounds, which are currently underrepresented on our board.

About the PTC

The Poetry Translation Centre (registered charity 1123056) is the only UK organisation dedicated to translating and promoting contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America. We publish books, organise events and deliver hands-on translation workshops that are open and inclusive to all. We also offer online resources including a weekly dual-language poetry podcast and an extensive web archive of poems in translation.

Central to our mission is exploring poetries from the home-cultures of the UK’s diverse diaspora communities, working in partnership with those communities. We believe that the act of translating and sharing poetry breaks down barriers and offers a way to explore diverse heritages and identities with respect.

Founded in 2004, the PTC has translated over 150 poets in 35 languages, published 32 bilingual books, and developed prestigious event and publication partnerships. Our website is visited by over 285,000 people from 197 countries per year.

The PTC is based at The Albany in Deptford, south London. We are a small exec team, 3.0 FTE, supported by an experienced trustee board and artistic advisory board. We have been an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) since 2012. Our current grant is £124,576 per annum for 2018–23.

What will you be doing? 

Our Board is instrumental in the strategic planning of the PTC and overseeing our overall artistic vision. The Board provides the PTC executive team with guidance and support, and is responsible for ensuring that the organisation’s assets are safeguarded by providing strong governance in the areas of finance and management. Our Trustees are also active champions of the PTC and help to fundraise for the organisation.

In 2021–22 we will be developing our Business Plan for the period 2023–27, and applying to Arts Council England to renew our NPO status. The incoming Chair will play a vital role in both of these processes, working with the CEO and the rest of the Board to review our organisation’s vision and purpose to ensure our future sustainability and relevance. More generally the role of Chair will consist of:

  • Chairing Board meetings (four meetings per year)
  • Ensuring the Board has effective decision-making processes in place and providing leadership that enables the board to participate effectively 
  • Overseeing the recruitment of new Board members
  • Providing support and challenge to the senior management team
  • Actively representing the organisation (depending on the candidate this may include attending meetings with funders or partners, speaking at public events or representing the PTC to the media)

What are we looking for?

All of our trustees hold themselves to the Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

  • The PTC’s next Chair will also have:
  • Time and willingness to play an active role in PTC’s governance 
  • A track record of chairing meetings
  • Prior experience of serving on charity boards
  • Knowledge of charity law and governance
  • Interest/experience in PTC’s area of work

The PTC is committed to interviewing all candidates from Asian and African diaspora heritage backgrounds who demonstrate that they meet the above criteria.

Before you apply

  • The time commitment will be around a day a month, plus attending meetings four times a year (either at our London office or via Zoom).
  • This position is for a three-year term.
  • This is a voluntary and unremunerated position.
  • Candidates must be based in the UK but do not need to live in London.
  • To apply please send a copy of your CV or biography and a short statement explaining why you are interested in the role.
  • The deadline for submissions is 9 November 2020.
  • Interviews will take place over Zoom in the week of the 30 November 2020.

Please email your submission to the PTC’s Office and Publications Manager Maddy Fogelman at together with a completed Diversity Monitoring Form.

We look forward to receiving your application. If you have any questions about the PTC or the role of Chair, please write to PTC Trustee Octavia Lamb at