Young Identity

Young Identity

Young Identity (YI) is a spoken word collective formed in Manchester, 2006 by Shirley May and Ali Gadema.

YI delivers dynamic poetry and spoken word workshops in art venues such as Contact and HOME, in addition to projects in local wards. We meet regularly in these locations to work with eager writers aged 13-25 years old.

Young Identity, manage One Mic Stand(affectionately known as OMS), a popular poetry showcase and slam night which takes place quarterly in Manchester, we have taken this flagship night to Berlin’FindFestival we
Also took the event in January 2019 to the British Council Literature Seminar on 2019!

Young Identity is dedicated to giving young people opportunities to perform their written work. We have recently launched a new 2-year program called Hatch, where we are developing the talents of up-and-coming poets to become professional artists in the industry.

Young Identity have worked with artists such as Lemn Sissay, international spoken word icon Saul Williams, dub poetry legend Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ted Hughes Prize Winner Kate Tempest and the late Amiri Baraka.

The work of Young Identity has also featured at Manchester International Festival as part of FlexN (a dance style pioneered by New York’s Reggie Roc Gray), a collaboration between local dancers and the poetry collective to explore new ways of storytelling through words and movement.

YI has performed all over the UK, from BoxedIn in London to Hay Festival in Herefordshire as well as internationally at Frankfurt Youth Poetry Slam in Germany to America’s Nuyorican Poetry Café. We work in partnership with Contact, HOME and Manchester Library Services and Manchester International Festival.

The group has recently become a CIO, having just appointed a new board within the company.