Manchester’s Young Identity speak up

Young Identity (YI) is a spoken word collective that was set up in Manchester 12 years ago by Shirley May and Ali Gadema.

Since then YI has built up quite a reputation, delivering dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops in art venues such as Contact and HOME, in addition to projects in local wards.

Its original members, known as Inna Voice, also work alongside YI to manage One Mic Stand – affectionately known as OMS –  a popular poetry showcase and slam night which takes place four times across the year in Manchester.

One Mic Stand is centred around the structure of a poetry slam, where 10 poets are given just three minutes each to wow the audience with their lyrical mastery and charismatic delivery to battle it out for the top spot and win the grand prize of £50!

A hotbed of upcoming talent, the last edition was presented by Contact and Young Identity and featured Tukaiisloveletter, an extraordinary poet, singer, songwriter and producer who took part in BBC 1Xtra Words First; and poet/playwright Joelle Taylor, one of the BBC Hull 17 poets and SLAMbassadors founder. Look out for their next!

The next Monday workshops at HOME take place on October 22 & 29, from 19:00-21:00 and are open to all young people aged 15-25. Check out their websites for more details – Young Identity at HOME and

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