Historically, a bard is an old Celtic term for someone who was a combination of historian, poet, diplomat, musician, and news-bringer.
In Wales, the tradition of circles of poet/ musicians is still held in the Gorsedd of Bards, and the National Eisteddfod of Wales – every year electing a new Bard of Wales, while, on St. David’s Day, schools hold Eisteddfodau (think: a mini-arts festival that pretty much the entire school takes part in).
The Bardic tradition has been spreading throughout England in recent years, and it is this model on which we’re basing many of the ideals for the post of Bard of Cambridge. Bards differ from Poet Laureates in key ways: while both are generally geographically-based, the source of their words comes from a different place. While a Poet Laureate is usually (though not always!) employed by an official body to represent the views of those in power to the masses, a modern Bard is democratically elected by a combination of their peers and the public. They acknowledge the higher powers of Truth and of Inspiration (also known as the “Awen”).
The Bard of Cambridge would stand for the Voice of the People. They would gain their title (“be chaired”) after passing several trials (all creative!). They would hold their title for (at least) a year and a day, before passing it on to the next successful Bard.
A Bard needs to be: motivated by a passion for words; talented in crafting words (this can be in song or poetry, or storytelling – even all of the above!); motivated by a passion for representation and broad social justice (take that as you will!) rather than person gain; willing to serve the people who elect them with their talent and passion by taking the voice of the people to those with the power. They also need to live within one day’s walking distance of the centre of Cambridge (for sake of convenience and accessibility, designated as within 26 miles of “Reality Checkpoint” on Parker’s Piece).