The root of the Poetic Debaters© lies in a seed of inspiration planted by the film ‘The Great Debaters released in 2007. Poet Zena Edwards devised a series of workshops and events that encourage emerging poets and young people to engage in more depth with important societal issues and current affairs which concern them and their future. Her work in Arts and Activism informs how poetry/spoken word provides an opportunity for marginalised voices to be expressed, acknowledged and affirmed, whilst slam competitions were a dynamic and immediate mode through which an audience can feedback on a challenging and creative piece of writing.
PDP takes the best elements of team debating and the competitive edge of Slam poetry competitions to deliver a lively audience interactive performance which is thought- provoking as well as entertaining and educational. This type of ‘issue-based gaming’ throws open multiple possibilities for innovative persuasive writing with room for creative flare in writing and performance.
The structural spine of the project involves rigorous discussions and research strategies, dynamic creative writing workshops and a fun yet disciplined regime of performance masterclasses to build confidence and strategic stamina for debating events.
All phases of the project encourage a mature approach to tackling everyday issues as a team, so that participants become aware of citizenship, social and personal responsibility as well as enjoying creativity through sporting performances to express and invoke holistic change.