Callout: the Bread and Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award 2021
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 14:24

Callout: the Bread and Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award 2021

Published in Music

Bread & Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award 2021

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Culture Matters are pleased to announce the fourth edition of their successful Bread & Roses Songwriting and Spoken Word Award. The Musicians’ Union is also supporting and sponsoring this award.

The Award is now open for submissions.  The new Award is a practical example of cultural democracy, with the aim of encouraging musicians and performers to write material meaningful to working-class people and communities, and to encourage those communities to develop and practice their creativity. This year’s Award will focus on the broad theme of the global coronavirus pandemic and the enormous impact it has had on so many lives, and particularly the arts and culture community.

Entry is free and there is a £100 cash prize for each of the top five entries. The judges will be drawn from practising performers, the CWU, the MU, and members of Culture Matters.

Ron Brown, MU Regional Committee and Judge 2019, said:

“The Bread and Roses Award is a fantastic opportunity for voices of the working class to be heard through song and poetry. The Musicians’ Union is very pleased to be supporting the Award again this time round. As one of the judges for the 2019 Award, it was a pleasure to listen to the very high quality of work submitted by the entrants, and I am very much looking forward to hearing all the entries submitted for the 2020 Award and once again being part of the judging panel. Submit your work and be heard!”

Becky Lowe, Winner 2020, said:

I was gobsmacked and delighted to win a Bread and Roses Spoken Word Award last year. It gave me the confidence to put together a new collection of poems – something I probably never would get around to doing otherwise. This has since been accepted by Culture Matters and is due for publication early next year.  I love what the Bread and Roses Awards do in terms of promoting new and radical voices. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s so important to make our voices heard. I’d definitely encourage others to apply.”

Ms Defiance, Winner 2020, said:

“The Bread and Roses award fulfils a much-needed role by encouraging artists to express their concerns about the world we live in, and brings art right into the struggle for a better world.  In the light of the uproar caused by Diversity's BLM performance on Britain's Got Talent, and the massive support they received, it is clear that this Award is needed more than ever. For me, in what has otherwise been a tough year, being one of the winners of the Bread and Roses Award in 2020 has been a highlight that has opened new doors for me and my work.” 

Kate Hudson, CWU Head of Equalities, Education & Development, said:

Covid-19 has highlighted the inequalities in Britain today, exacerbating existing deprivation, privilege and power. Key workers have kept the country running but they are still expected to survive on poverty wages. They have had to fight for PPE and other health and safety arrangements. Their children have been deprived of resources at school and even the food from their plates. Their services and educational opportunities are under threat. But we have also taken hope and inspiration from the grass roots organisation of mutual aid groups, the public recognition of the importance of key workers and the spontaneous organisation of the Black Lives Matter campaign. Historically, song and spoken word have both recorded working-class struggle, offered us hope and mobilised us to fight for a better future. That is the proud tradition we follow in today. 

Submission Rules and Guidelines 

1. Entries should broadly cover issues surrounding the global pandemic, including but not limited to: poverty, health, lockdown, housing, loneliness, exclusion, and also community action and mutual aid, solidarity, hope and reflection.

2. Entries can be from solo or bands of artists/performers and community choirs and are actively encouraged from grassroots, younger and emerging performers. 

3. Entries should be one song or performance of original material, in English, either unpublished or previously published after 1st January 2020.

4. Entries should be submitted as audio or live/pre-recorded video files (MP3/4 format or video) via email. All entries will be judged equally, but some video entries may be also selected to feature on the Culture Matters YouTube channel.

5. Entry is free and is open to all residents of Great Britain, regardless of trade union membership. Culture Matters will fund five prizes of £100 each.

6. All entries will remain the copyright of the entrant, but CWU and Culture Matters will have the right to publish them online and in other media.

7. The organisers accept no responsibility for entries that are incorrectly submitted or not delivered due to technical faults.

8. By entering the Award, entrants agree to accept and be bound by the rules of the Award and the decisions of the judges.

9. Due to the likely volume of entries, the organisers regret that they cannot enter into correspondence with individual entrants.

Entries should be sent via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is midnight on 31st March 2021. When emailing submissions, please provide your full name, postal address and phone number.