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Poetic Basingstoke and Overhear App project

I'm Kibriya, co-director and marketing lead at Overhear. We worked in partnership with Basingstoke Festival to add an extra element to the 2023 programme by way of Poetic Basingstoke, an audio poetry trail written by local poet and playwright Rebecca Lyon and performed by local voice artist Naomi Escott. We wanted to offer festival-goers a poetic perspective on Basingstoke, and it is wonderfully explained in a blog post written by Rebecca Lyon for Love Basingstoke.

For me, this post is a wonderfully circular moment, as my first interaction with Overhear was when I was asked to write a guest blog on behalf of the poetry festival I was working for at the time. I remember becoming more and more convinced of the genius of the idea as I wrote about how excited we were to pilot an Overhear-Festival collaboration, and it's unlikely to come as a surprise to you that I am even more convinced now, writing from the other side.

In the broadest terms, Overhear has always been about finding ways to connect people, art and place; we want to move people, in every sense of the word. The core Overhear experience is being in a place, listening to something beautiful and through that, appreciating the space around you in a new and deeper way. We've worked with community groups to explore hidden histories of Hansworth, had poets wax lyrical about their local pub or coffee shop and worked with people on a stroke recovery ward to share messages of hope and resilience.

One of the most important aspects of our work, for me, is giving our listeners something they didn't expect, helping them to discover something new that would have otherwise stayed invisible. I love how a single turn of phrase or a unusual description of what you're looking at can change your whole perspective: suddenly, the figure in this painting has a real, snarky voice, the people running this community cinema are starring in their own movie, you're surrounded by the market sellers of years gone by.

So, Basingstoke Festival, invested in "art in unusual places", is absolutely something we're excited to be involved in. As an outdoor festival, it transforms the spaces it occupies in much the same way that we aim for the audio on our app to do. I hope that the audio trail helps the magic of the festival to spread far and wide and that listeners enjoy seeing the spaces in a new light.

And now, I'd like to hand the virtual microphone over to Tom, the founder of Overhear.


Working with Basingstoke Festival has in some ways brought me full circle since I studied Music Technology at Queen Mary's College. Queen Mary's was a great space with excellent studio facilities and an amazing performance space, it really nurtured my love for audio. The soundtrack to my walk from the bus station to the campus was, if you'll indulge me, an eclectic range of Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom along with Dylan, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. Now, perhaps more appropriately, I am soundtracking those same spaces with the help of Basingstoke's own Rebecca Lyon and its been a privilege to help fill Basingstoke with her amazing poems..

Please download the app and take a moment to find the pieces in the locations you can see on the map, take a moment to be present there and take the poetic perspective.

Our thanks to Overhear, October 2023

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