Image for Caravan Slam preview, Tone Bar, August 2011

Caravan Slam preview, Tone Bar, August 2011

Written by Saha Mayousha-Jones on August 17, 2011

Caravan Slam is many things. It is monthly. It is poetry. It is slam. It is scat. It is music. It is roving. It is art. It is emergency. It is tea and cakes and spices. It is evolution, revolution, elocution. It is games. It is a showcase of local bands, local music. It is cushions, comfy, warm. It is DIY. It is punk. It is fresh. It could be something new in a year. It is packed. It is whatever the collective want it to be, need it to be, hope it to be. It is strange. It is not for profit but for culture. It is fun. It is freedom. It is home. It is Sydney, and shé’s changed her outfit and shed her skin.

On the last Wednesday of each month Caravan Slam unveils itself in a new location. So far it has come to life in art spaces, galleries, warehouses, and an old puppet theatre. It’s next home will be on the 31st of August at Tone night club in Surry Hills, and will follow through in the next few months again in a gallery, a cafe, a library and even private homes. This monthly event encourages people to be part of something experiential, and to think outside of their usual social haunts. Caravan Slam could be anywhere, could be anything. Here there is a purpose, there is a message. The poetry acts as a sort of binding element to bring audiences, writers, performers, musicians, and ideas together in a way that begins to forge strong cultural potential in the imaginations of Caravan Slammers and Sydney residents. For three minutes at the mic, each poet allows the audience to see the world through their eyes and share stories through gesture, nerves, song, rap, strength, performance, whisper. Though, to be a Slammer is not by any means restricted to those who participate in the competition. A Slammer is whoever helps at the door, whoever donates their time, whoever listens and respects, whoever shows up to support, whoever plays music and entertains, whoever runs around behind the scenes, whoever offers up a new idea, whoever shares their photos, comments and opinions, whoever guest judges, whoever wins, whoever doesn’t, whoever brings an energy into the Caravan that makes others feel part of something better, something more, something new, a conversation, something far away from corporate culture, bohemian uniform, judgement, and exclusivity.

Caravan Slam seeks to find ways to think laterally around cultural, social, political and creative restrictions. Through the celebration of thoughts, ideas and poetic images, it fights for the preservation and cultivation of open minds, and critical thinking. It encourages writers of all levels to participate, and use the space to experiment with their material. Caravan Slam is building a community that extends beyond the inner-city scene, and invites all who wish to be involved to speak up, to feel welcome, to feel included, to feel their creativity is worth something. This project encourages also a certain kind of inherent philosophy that speaks to those who wish to reclaim public space, public pride, public access, and collective pride for the writer, the thinker, the maker.

For information or expressions of interest email

The next Caravan Slam is at 7pm on August 31 at Tone Bar, 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills.

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