PRESS RELEASE

World Poetry Slam Championship Belgium 27-29 September 2022

Release date 26-08-2022

World’s first: inclusive World Poetry Slam Championship in Brussels, Belgium

 

 

On the 26th of September, the best slam poets in the world are coming to Brussels, Belgium, for the first inclusive World Poetry Slam Championship. Slammers from 37 countries will participate from Mexico to Chad and Japan to Australia. During the semi-finals and finals, poets will have three minutes to share their performances in an effort to win the jury and audience over by setting an authentic mood and tone captivating their viewers. Each round will be livestreamed, and voting will be open to the public around the world. Aside from the main event, a poetic festival will be hosted in the Belgian capital for one week of showcases and workshops.

Inclusive origins

 

The idea for this world championship began within the World Poetry Slam Organization (WPSO), and brings together slammers and organizers from all over the world. The WPSO has been working on this project behind the scenes for four years and created a joint charter in 2020. The purpose of this charter is to act as a starting point in which inclusion, free speech, decolonization and LGBTQIA+ rights are fundamental values and principles that guide the actions and future events of the organization. The WPSO has since collaborated with local Belgian players to organize this first edition of the championship. The need for this version of the championship arose in 2012 when different slammers from around the world sought to establish an inclusive championship that would be respectful to all slammers from all continents and without prejudice towards race, gender, nationality, language group or ethnicity.

 

Worldwide and multilingual event

 

40 slammers from 37 countries will participate. Continental pre-selections in Europe, Africa and Abya Yala (the Americas) along with worldwide wild cards have authorized slammers to enter into the championship. Slammers will perform in the language of their choice. To maximize inclusion, poems will be translated into English, Spanish, French and Dutch. Translations will be projected during the live performance. The diversity of texts and cultures will assure a more intriguing and accessible experience.

As we have 40 champions participating, there will be two semi-finals of 20 slammers on September 27th and 28th. The 20 best slammers of both semi-finals will continue on to the final on the 29th of September. Each round of competition will take place in Kinepolis, a cinema complex in the center of Brussels. The semi-finals and finals will be livestreamed, and the livestream will be accessible through the WPSO website and YouTube channel, both free of charge. Viewers will have the chance to vote for their favourite poet but not the slammer from their own country.

Future plans

 

Even though the first championship has yet to take place, plans for the next editions are already underway and we are super enthusiastic. The championships will travel from Brussels to Rio de Janeiro for the 2023 edition. Lomé, Mexico City, and Durban round off the calendar for 2024, 2025 and 2026.

Practical

World Poetry Slam Championship 2022

26-29 September 2022

Where? Multiple location in Brussels

Tickets and info HERE

The World Poetry Slam Championship is a partnership with the World Poetry Slam Organization, Creatief Schrijven vzw, Willemsfonds Brussel and Hurae, with the support of the Flemish Government, the Brussels Capital Region, the European Commission, Muntpunt, Dansaert Hotel, VIERNULVIER, EUNIC, Jint and Kinepolis

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PRESS RELEASE

World Championships Poetry Slam are coming to Belgium in 2022

 

The World Championships Poetry Slam are coming to Belgium in September 2022. During the 7-day event, there will be much more than the final competition. You will be able to enjoy different performances, attend workshops or participate in networking moments, on various locations throughout the region of Brussels. All the different rounds and the final round will be live-streamed to allow fans all over the world to follow the event online. Last weekend, different cultural organizations and volunteers located across the globe have designed the outlines of the Championships.

In a Poetry Slam event, artists perform their poetic texts in front of a live audience and jury. By performing them as such, they break away from the traditional, elitist image, of poetry as art. Slam Poetry is animated, lively, and leaves a lot of room for the audience to participate. The genre has been influenced by hip hop and urban culture, which is reflected in the background of the artists and the activism that lies in their content. “Worldwide, there are numerous talented artists active in this scene that still has an ‘underground’ reputation. By organizing these Championships, we want to change that”, says Suzanne Ter Haar of the Willemsfonds vzw that coordinates the WCPS 2022, supported by the Brussels-Capital Region, in collaboration with Creatief Schrijven vzw and the creative agency Hurae.

During the European Week of Multilingualism, slammers from all over the world will perform at Kinepolis in Brussels. Every country sends their national champion. During a number of continental competitions (Africa, Abya Yala, Europe, Asia and Oceania) the 40 best slammers are selected to perform one slam poem during the Championship. “By making use of the so-called ‘Eurovision format’, there is the advantage that we can offer a worldwide stage to each participant as we’re streaming the entire competition. It’s our way of showing that this form of art, performed across the globe, is an emancipated type of activism in which each voice is equal”, explains the Belgian coordinator Philip Meersman. The winner of the World Championships Poetry Slam will not only receive a generous amount of prize money, but will also go on a world tour and can count on significant media attention.

Deciding on the format was only one of the many decisions that were taken in the past weekend during the networking days. These sessions were organized online so that everybody had the chance to participate in one or more workshops, no matter their location. The fact that it did not matter where you were, is particularly important because the World Poetry Slam Organization (WPSO) doesn’t only focus on its horizontal structure but also wants to emphasize the importance of inclusivity and multilingualism.

The World Championships Poetry Slam wants to set an example by bringing an inclusive and multilingual art of storytelling to the public and to shed a light on themes such as decolonization, LGBTQI+ and freedom of speech. This already starts with the jury who will not only be a mix of professional judges and public voters, but will also be a diverse panel when looking at ethnicity, origins, gender, language and age. The World Poetry Slam Organization, who is the organization making these World Championships possible, therefore decided to create a statement to create awareness in the participating countries and with the partners and sponsors.

 

Interested in finding out more?

Visit our website www.worldpoetryslam.org and the social media of WPSO to find out the latest news about the World Championships Poetry Slam 2022, but also to be the first to hear about other competitions that will be held in the coming months.

 

The organization is still looking for partners and sponsors.

Ιf you’re interested contact us by email: info@worldpoetryslam.org 

 

Read WPSO’s statement here.

RESULTS OF THE NETWORK DAYS

3/4/5 SEPTEMBER 2021

#WPSF BRUSSELS 2022

On the 3rd to 5th of September 2021, we organized various live workshops during the Network Days, and we invited people from around the globe to participate and vote, in order to make the decisions on how the new, inclusive World Poetry Slam Championship would be in September 2022 in Brussels. We managed to have people attending from every continent, and we set up a voting procedure via the Discord platform. The different working groups concerned the following topics:

 

1. Participation Criteria

2. Competition Formula and Rules

3. Champions follow-up | Control | Audit

4. Strategy for the Future of WPSO-WPSF

5. Statement

6. Decolonization

7. LGBTQI+

8. Freedom of Expression

9. Program

 

All the results emerged after an open vote in which everybody who attended the workshops had the chance to vote and are based on individual presentations for each topic that were discussed. Our goal was that, whatever the results, we would commit to work together on organizing a championship to be held according to the way people voted.

PARTICIPATION CRITERIA

 

All countries will have signed our statement in order to participate. The 10 best slammers from each continental championship of 2021—Abya Yala, CASP, Euro Poetry Slam—will have a place in the WPSC, as well as national champions from Asian countries and Oceania. The more slammers, the more extra places are to be reserved for Asia and Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand. Only one national champion per country can participate. One innovation for the new, inclusive WPSC was the idea of organizing an online event in which the runners-up of each country will participate and the winner will be invited to compete with the champions, and this innovation has been voted positively and we have committed to organizing this event in March 2022 (more news soon). The champions who cannot make it to the European Championship in December 2021 will have the chance to participate in the online event with the runners-up. The host country is sure to have a spot in the WPSC Brussels 2022, and there will be wildcards given to beginning countries. We anticipate inviting a maximum of 40 champions and 40 organizers.

 

 

COMPETITION FORMULA AND RULES

 

The format that took the most votes was the new format of ONE POEM per slammer, suggested by WPSO. This format gives us the ability to stream all participants worldwide and focus on rehearsals and workshops during the seven days of the event, aiming to minimize the competitive aspect among the poets and create a more attractive show which will be streamed worldwide. Lots of networking and many informal slam shows will take place.  

 

We will use a mixed jury—audience jury from each country, plus organized jury of each country´s national organization will give us a score for their ten favourite countries live, selecting one of the following points, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10 and 12. The external jury from each country will not be able to vote for their own country. Tele-voting will be added. 


 

CHAMPIONS FOLLOW-UP | CONTROL | AUDIT

 

After the Championship, the organization will offer to the champions some valuable spotlights and gigs. This will not only be for the WPSC Champion Slammer, but for as many national champions as we can. For the WPSC Champion, the organization is committed to awarding a sum of money as a prize, along with follow-up gigs, social network visibility, headlines on various websites and in the press. The WPSO will not have the right to act as an agent of the champions and will not ask for any commission or charge a percentage fee to the champions for the gigs that they will be invited to, but the champions should mention WPSO in their bio and promote the organization.

 

The WPSC event will be managed by a select group of people with a president who will supervise them, and there will be professional security. In order to audit the whole event properly, we will need volunteers to control every step. We will set up an online form to fill in for volunteer tasks and an online form for evaluation and feedback after the end of the championship. A special admin from each continent will be needed.

 

STRATEGY FOR THE FUTURE OF WPSO

 

The World Poetry Slam Championship will be organized annually; however, the Network Days to evaluate all decisions will take place every two years. As to the decision about which country will be next to host the WPSC, we will wait and see after the Brussels WPSO Festival. We do not follow a pattern. The WPSC will take place in a different country each year, with the total support of WPS Organization. WPSO participating national organizations can come forward between now and the WPSC 2022 as candidates to be the next country to organize the WPSC. 

 

After voting, it was decided that the WPSO should have a legal structure with a central executive board, and we will be looking into the possibilities that exist for doing so. International poetry slam organizations should try to get maximum support from their participating countries for airline tickets and the host country will pay the rest. As far as deciding who will be the key figures and what their functions will be, we opted for maintaining a horizontal structure.  

 

DECOLONIZATION

 

The hosting country will reflect the variety of languages since the basis of the slam is the diversity of voices, origins, languages, customs, and sexual orientations. The jury will reflect this diversity. The hosts of the events will be diverse as well, as they will be from different countries, but emphasizing the prominence of historically debilitated, and racially and sexually repressed cultures. The new format gives us the opportunity to have transcriptions for deaf people as well.

 

LGBTQI+

 

We will make sure to give voice to the LGBTQI+ poets/community and we will have an event focused on LGBTQI+ community. We have discussed various ways to do so, and we will do our best to include and give voice to all the “minorities” at the festival. 

 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

 

We will draft specific rules about what type of speech will not be accepted in our festival (such as hate speech, etc.) and these rules will be communicated to the public. In the case of disagreement about a specific poem, we will ask for the opinion of the audience.

 

PROGRAM

 

The new, inclusive World Poetry Slam Championship will last seven days. On these days, we will organize a variety of events of different types (e.g., poetry events, concerts, comedy events). If there are similar events, they will not be scheduled concurrently but consecutively. We will organize open mics for everybody, as well as workshops and discussion panels, and our aim is to reach as broad an audience as possible.

 

If you have a venue and/or you are an organizer of an event in Brussels and you want to collaborate with us these days, we will accept proposals for collaborations via an online form which will be created in the beginning of the year 2022. An open call for collaborations will be announced.