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Digital dialogue with the UK

Written by DK Wright
May 17, 2013

In an international effort to establish a digital collaboration, Young Identity was an idea created to pilot, connect and explore digital poetry performances/slams.

Young Identity was a digital international youth exchange between Urban Word NYC, Young Identity, Contact Theater, and the Culture Hub. The program called for a group of six youth to collaborate on a group poetry piece and performance that was simulcast live at Shake the Dust, the UK’s national youth poetry slam competition. Over the course of five weeks using Skype, a Facebook Group and Google Docs; Young Identity and Urban Word conducting writing workshops to brainstorm, and create a group piece with the youth from the UK.

This collaborative piece was facilitated through simulcast technology located at Contact Theater and the Culture Hub in New York. Simulcast is the ability for two separate locations to video conference real time. This type of technology was not exclusive to this partnership, but is unique in the way it was used (two sets of performers being viewed simultaneously to a third party audience).

One of these performers was Marlon Cadore. When this Urban Word poet and 2012 Youth Board Member was asked about his experience on this project his reply was:

“…at first we had meeting at the office and had to figure out communications with Skype and everything and write poems via Skype which was a weird but interesting experience. When it came time to be in the space where we would be streamed performing that was incredible because I never did anything like that and I was performing for people across the world and it was only my second group piece so I was nervous. All in all it was awesome because I love the cats we performed with and talking to Keke and everyone and I kind of miss all of them enough to want to go over there and experience poetry over there.”

Footage of the Urban Word youth performing projected behind youth of Young Identity simultaneously to a live studio audio audience was recorded and also livestreamed. Watch how it call came out here.