our words make worlds

Diaspora, Identity and Language Learning

Joëlle Sambi presenting the workshop

Joëlle Sambi speaking at the workshop


In November 2018 the ERC-funded, University of Coimbra project MEMOIRS Children of Empires and European Postmemories (ERC n. 648624), in partnership with Language Acts and Worldmaking and King's College London's Modern Language Centre, held a SLAM creative writing workshop at King's, hosted by MEMOIRS researcher Fernanda Vilar and featuring Belgium slammer and writer, Joëlle Sambi.

Slam poetry is a laboratory for identity, personal expression and lexical creativity. This workshop was designed to fit within the framework of the Diasporic Identities and Language Transitions strands of Language Acts and WorldmakingJoëlle, a Belgium-Congolese artist who often uses Lingala language in her slamming, led participants in examining the link between colonial memories and how languages move between different linguistic and cultural worlds in the slam writing and performance. French, Spanish, English and Portuguese language teachers worked together to write slam poetry to discover themselves - developing slam poems around their names, characters, origins and possessions, and mixing them with words, colours, feelings, body parts - and at the end of the day there was a SLAM performance.