As part of the UK’s 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Shake the Dust was a nationwide youth poetry slam, giving young people the opportunity to work with leading spoken word poets to share their stories and find their voices.

Shake the Dust was an opportunity to build on the work of the London Teenage Poetry Slam and Word Cup towards the vision of a national youth poetry slam for England. Five poet-coaches were paired with five shadows and placed in schools or other alternative educational settings in each of the nine English regions. The five teams those teaching pairs mentored were brought together through regional heats, which determined the nine teams that would progress to national finals.

Working with Apples and Snakes, a national consortium of slam producers and a network of regional venues, I served as Artistic Director, as well as delivering a professional development programme for poet-coaches and shadows across the country, supporting regional finals and hosting the final national weekend festival at the Southbank.