Youth Slam West Midlands

Donato Esposito of the Bostin Group nominated Youth Slam West Midlands

Colour Free Visions Poetry have been coaching and nuturing contemporary “slam” poetry for a number of years around the UK. Slam poetry can be described as “X-Factor – but with poetry, in all it’s genres, instead of singing”. They wanted to engage with a wider audience throughout the West Midlands by having an online competition, that would ultimately feed into a live event, as well as showing young people that poetry and I.T. can work together, hand in hand.

The solution was to have a digital online campaign to get the word out and engage with youth in the West Midlands. This is achieved by enabling teachers, youth group workers and children to upload videos of the young people performing poems they had written in their peer groups.

We built a bespoke digital platform to enable video uploads whilst maintaining strict security issues as young people were involved. We have used both digital and traditional marketing to get the idea out to the schools in the area, which leads them to the website. The website explains clearly what is required, as well as having all the online resources and forms needed to get started. There is also a facility to put you in touch with a live poet who can come to the young people’s establishment to give workshop style coaching and advice.

So far the project has engaged with over 80 schools and youth organisations around the West Midlands area, with videos already being uploaded online for the world to see. It is envisaged that an additional 100 schools and youth organisations will be engaged by the end of July 2010. The website enables the young people to show their work to their friends and family, which normally, would not have been possible. It also opens up the young people’s horizons with regard to what other young people around the West Midlands are doing in terms of their writing and performance. A safe, public forum for all young people to learn and pick up ideas from.
This project will also help to prepare the West Midlands for a national event, planned in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Slam poetry is a great way of showing and nurturing young people how to be creative with literacy, performance and I.T. in a fun and contemporary way.