Read more on the SLAMbassadors UK blog.
Teachers can also take a look at tips for running slam-style lessons in school in the Teachers' Toolkit page.
‘As a SLAMbassadors judge I don't think I have ever listened to such beautiful, touching, witty and insightful poetry before. It wasn't what I was expecting and it blasts away all the negative stereotypes of teenagers we have ever known. Amazing!’ commented Spoken Word icon Hollie McNish
On 24 September the SLAMbassadors 2013 judges Joelle Taylor, Hollie McNish and Bea Colley came together to watch a shortlist of 33 original spoken word films centred around the theme of ‘Identity’ and select just six to represent the UK. After eight hours of deliberation they made their selection and we are delighted to announce that the following six young spoken word artists were chosen as the winners of SLAMbassadors 2013:
AAKIFAH ABOOBAKAR, ANNA-ROSE THOMAS, JENNY BURVILLE-RILEY, NAFEESA MOHAMMED, OLLIE O’NEILL and SAMILAH NAIRA
Joelle Taylor, Artistic Director and National Coach, said: ‘I cannot wait to meet this year’s winning SLAMbassadors UK solo slam team. It is always difficult, if not heart–breaking, to whittle down such amazing and soulful entries to a small number’.
The all-female line-up will join Joelle Taylor in an intensive master class on 31 October, helping them to develop their performance skills to produce a full set for a SLAMbassadors showcase. This work will be premiered in the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London on 1 November at 4pm. They’ll have the chance to perform in support of Hollie McNish, in a show that will also feature underground DJs and live VJ-ing, from a pair of lucky VJs chosen in an online competition in association with Ideastap. As well as receiving on-going mentoring, the winners will also be invited to participate in a new commission to write poetry inspired by and for a First World War exhibition by the London Transport Museum in 2014.
The judges said the following of the chosen artists and their pieces:
Aakifah Aboobakar – One Word, One Name
‘Aakifah has chosen not to share her film with the general public for religious reasons. Her winning poem details the reasons for this and is a strong and beautiful defence of all women who demand the right to choose what they wear.’
Anna-Rose Thomas – She
‘Rose Ann has written some of the most confrontational and soul-ripping poetry we have ever heard. Her poem ”She” will be remembered for years and years to come. In our estimation it is one of the most profound pieces written by a young woman coming to terms with gender identity in 2013. Her use of language is powerful, heart-breaking and imagistic beyond belief.’
Jenny Burville-Riley – Identity Projected
‘Extraordinary use of metaphor, simile and wild, passionate imagery that immediately stunned and won over the judges from Jenny, also a winner of the prestigious Foyle Young Poet of the Year Awards this year. A remarkable achievement.’
Nafeesa Mohammed - Tattoos
‘A beautiful, elegant writer of passionate free verse poetry that she breathes further life into on stage. Nafeesa was also the overall winner of the Buckinghamshire Slam Championships, also organised by SLAMbassadors.’
Ollie O’Neill - Dyke
‘”Dark, haunting, powerful, magnetic…” These are just some of the words that go some of the way to explaining Ollie’s writing and performance craft. Quite stunning. Dyke is a positive and power-filled poem that will inspire thousands of people to be proud of themselves and their journeys.’
Samilah Naira – Denied Identity
‘Samilah is a writer of complexity, passion, fury and layers. Some of her lines had the judges slapping the tables. It is difficult to believe that she is only 14 years old and she has written something that helps to define life itself. The spoken word world needs artists like this.’
If you still need some inspiration check out the video links, and the SLAMbassador Sessions playlists. Better still, write a list of all those things you would re-write if you had the power to. Now imagine you do have that power. Now write.