"Poetry is vital. It is both alive and essential. In a society where our children are nearly suffocated by exams, assessments, levels and numbers – poetry opens the airways, it gives them room to breathe. More than that, it gives them a chance to speak, unrestricted and free, and when their voices are raised in such a way, we would do well to listen” - Christian Foley, Spoken Word Educator & Poet-in-Residence at St Elizabeth's Primary School.
THOMAS 'GHETTOGEEK' OWOO
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Thomas ‘Ghettogeek’ Owoo is a psychology and sociology teacher who, for last 13 years, has been using rap, spoken word and poetry to engage disaffected young people in north west London. He has been a manager of an alternative education seclusion unit and was an SEBD Advisory Teacher for Brent Council where he has trained schools, staff and pupils in finding ways to reduce exclusions from school. During the day, he is a rap therapist and spoken word teacher at Elsley Primary School. He is also the founder of the new creative arts YouTube channel called GhettogeekTV. Ghettogeek only started performing within the London poetry circuit over the last two year after his A-level sociology class (The #Sociology7) asked him to perform his teaching resource called “Sociology in Rap” out in the community. Since listening to them it has led to him also featuring at events at the Clapham Grand, Lyric Theatre, Nozstock Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe BBC Poetry Slam. He also just recently performed for Mim Shaikh's show on the BBC Asian Network.
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Christian Foley is a spoken word poet, musician and educator. He is also a mentor to Elsley Primary school’s Poet-In-Residence Thomas ‘Ghettogeek' Owoo. Christian is one of the only few poets in the world to hold an MA in Spoken Word Education at Goldsmiths University. Christian is a Poet-in-Residence at St Elizabeth’s Primary School, Cardinal Pole Secondary School and The Complete Works, a series of Pupil Referral Units. Christian has performed internationally in France and Australia, and also at the major festivals in the UK. His poetry has also been featured in The Guardian, The Telegraph, 5live, and The Huffington Post. Christian has appeared on Good Morning America, ITV’s This Morning and The Oprah Winfrey Network. He is currently publishing poetry anthologies with a group of young offenders from Hackney and co-ordinating Spoken Word Education projects.
Simon Mole is a London-based spoken word poet and spoken word educator. Simon was the first ever Poet Laureate for the London borough of Brent, and was recently a performing guest on The Verb for BBC Radio 3. His first one man show Indiana Jones and the extra chair was funded by the Arts Council to tour nationally as a residency project in 2012/13. Shows at Southbank Centre and Brighton Dome sold out, earning 4.5 stars in the Huffington Post. Simon is one fifth of the Chill Pill Collective, curating and performing at hugely popular poetry nights at the Albany, where Simon is an associate artist. He also co-leads the Keats’ House Poets Forum for City of London. Recent residencies have seen him working with the porters at Guys Hospital, with primary school children on the South Kilburn estate, and with teenagers at the Guildhall Museum. Commissioned poetry by Simon can now be found in all of these locations.