Shake the Dust was the biggest youth poetry slam the UK has ever seen. It’s exciting, it’s powerful and it will change the way you think about poetry.


Shake the Dust is about bringing together young people from up and down the country; shining a spotlight on voices that would otherwise be unheard. It uses slam poetry as a tool to inspire and motivate young people to share their lives, stories and dreams, and gives them a platform from which to speak out.


Watch a short film explaining the thinking behind Shake the Dust


Plus, it’s a great opportunity for poets, slam producers, venues and arts organisations across the country to work together and share their experience. The competitive slam events are only one part of the process; more than anything it’s about building a community that will be able to look beyond 2012 to the future of youth poetry slam in the UK.



How does it all fit together?

Spread across nine regions of England, teams of young people came together through writing and performing poetry. Five teams in each region reheared and workshopped to find their voices, improve their writing skills and hone their ability to perform. They worked with top spoken word poets from around the UK.

Throughout the entirety of  the project, spoken word artists, teachers and educators received specialist training and professional development in slam poetry.

Consulting Slam Producers are established experts in the field of youth poetry slam with a wealth of knowledge about the genre. For each region, they formed part of the national network of professional slam specialists; acting as consultants, getting involved in the action, playing a vital role on the project, sharing their expertise and give young people a real taste of what spoken word is about in their region.

Shake the Dust joined up nine prominent arts venues in nine regions of England to work in partnership. They formed the regional homes for Shake the Dust through to the slam finals in June 2012, when teams of young poets came together for a day of celebration, workshops, performance and the Regional Slam Finals.

The highest scoring teams from each region progressed through to the National Shake the Dust Weekend, held at the Southbank Centre in London in July 2012, including workshops, guest performances, international visitors and the grand slam final. It was an unmissable weekend!

Take a look at our FAQ or check out the video above for further information.