Imagine Portsmouth launches creative competition to capture Portsmouth


On the 14th of June, Imagine Portsmouth launched a creative competition challenging the people of Portsmouth to pick up a camera or pen and share how they see the city in 2021. The photography and poetry challenge is designed to celebrate Portsmouth’s city vision, which was officially unveiled earlier this year and sets out the city’s ambitions for the future.

Aspiring poets and enthusiastic photographers are being challenged to take inspiration from the themes and values of the city vision – such as Portsmouth as a healthy and happy city, a green city or a city that celebrates equality, community or innovation – and bring them to life through striking images and imaginative writing.

The competition is open to residents of all ages throughout the summer, closing on 5 September. Photographs can be entered into 11 different categories, based on the themes and values of the city vision. Poems can be entered into three different age categories – adults, 11-18 year olds, and under 11s. There is no limit on the number of entries one person can submit but under 18s will need permission to enter from a parent or guardian.

The winning entries will be selected by a panel of expert judges from across the city. For photography entries, the judges will include, professional photographer Paul Gonella from Strong Island Media and an official Royal Navy photographer. For entries to the poetry competition the judges will include; Amanda Garrie, writer, spoken word artist and Libraries and Archive poet in residence 2019; Maggie Sawkins, founder of Portsmouth poetry and music club, Tongues & Grooves; and Dr Alison Habens from the University of Portsmouth’s faculty of creative and cultural industries.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council and member of the Imagine Portsmouth partner board, said:  “The city vision sets out how people in Portsmouth see the future of the city and what we should aspire to as a community. With this competition we want to bring the vision to life, show the city through the eyes of people who live and work in the city today, and demonstrate how many of our ambitions for the future are already being realised. We know there is a huge amount of creative talent in the city and we can’t wait to see how people capture Portsmouth.”

The winners will have their work showcased online and there will be a £75 shopping voucher for the winner of each individual category.  The judges will also select one overall winner for the photography competition who will receive a two hour photography lesson in Southsea with professional photographer Paul Gonella from Strong Island Media. The overall winner of the poetry competition will receive a one-to-one workshop with Amanda Garrie, Portsmouth’s former poet in residence.

The key themes and values of the vision that entrants for the photography and poetry competition can take inspiration from are:

  • Happy and healthy
  • Culture and creativity
  • Easy travel
  • Green city
  • Lifelong learning
  • Thriving economy
  • Innovation
  • Equality
  • Respect
  • Community
  • Collaboration

You can read more about each of these ideas and ambitions and what they mean for Portsmouth on the Imagine Portsmouth website

To find out more about the competition and to enter visit:

If you are not able to enter the competition online, you can request a paper entry form to be sent out by post by calling Portsmouth’s city helpdesk on 023 9261 6708.