October is Seniors Month here in Queensland, a month-long celebration centered around social connections. October the 1st was also International Day of Older Persons and this year’s theme is “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World”.
We spent the weekend of the 1- 2 October at HOTA Home of the Arts and Redland Performing Arts Centre in South East Queensland, with a couple a dozen creative humans aged between 65 and 85 years young. They had been a part of an 8-week writing and performance program called Gran Slam, along with another 50 emerging older poets from across Australia.
We started Gran Slam in 2019 with the vision to use the form of slam poetry to amplify the voices of older Australians and provide a platform for critical connection and creatively for people aged over 65years – something that was a bit different from the standard offerings for aged recreation and leisure.
Like all of our projects, Gran Slam is artist-led and this year we had award winning writers and poets Josh Donellan (JD) and Angela Peita lead the writing workshops with special guest Aussie Hip Hop legend Morganics lead the performance workshops and the hilarious Jenny Wynter as our host.
Some of the participants are Gran Slam royalty, having participated annually since 2019. Many were new to Everybody NOW. Some were new, not only to writing, but to any form of creative expression.