Giving Voice to The Word

This is a past event.

This SAMAG event in Parramatta is a bit different. Firstly, we are presenting it in partnership with Westwords which champions and celebrates the stories of the people, places and cultures of Western Sydney.

Secondly, we’ll be starting with live performances from our exceptionally talented line-up of Western Sydney slam poets and writers. Writing in Western Sydney is BIG right now, and if you haven’t sat in a room and felt the energy radiating from a bunch of slam poets, this is your chance. After the performances, we will hear how writing cultures in western Sydney have developed over time and how writers and the organisations that support them can bring this work to wider audiences.

What does it mean to write from western Sydney? How can our stories be used to challenge perceived ideas of what it means to be from here? How are these stories reaching larger national and international audiences? What can arts institutions do to foster complex, engaging and diverse stories from this region? How can the stories of this region be used to engage young people by fostering dialogue about the issues that matter to them?

Our host for the night will be Michael Campbell, the executive director of Westwords and member of Create NSW’s literature panel, and the Creative Arts and Humanities panel at the Australian Research Council.

Our MC will be Dr Felicity Castagna, an academic, teacher and arts leader who has either won or been a finalist for many of the nation’s top literary awards. She has featured in writers’ festivals, on the ABC and has collaborated with artists across the country. For the past four years, Felicity has run a storytelling night called Studio Stories and has co-run a mentorship scheme called The Finishing School at The Parramatta Artists’ Studios.


  • Aishah Ali is a fourth-year law and political science student of Fijian-Indian descent who has emerged as a fresh new face of spoken word poetry in Sydney. Her poetry has been published in a number of books, magazines and online forums and she has featured in major events such as the Sydney Writers’ Festival and took out the winning title in the 2018 Bankstown Poetry Slam. Aishah has curated two short films with Amnesty International.
  • Sunil Badami is a writer, academic, performer and broadcaster. He has written for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, The Australian, The Monthly, The New Daily, The Australian Literary Review, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Art and Australia, Southerly, Island, Westerly and Meanjin. His work has been published in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.
  • Troy Wong was born and raised in Western Sydney. He helmed the Parramatta Poetry Slam and the Granville Poetry Slam as host and creative director and was a national finalist in the 2015 Australian Poetry Slam. Troy’s work has featured in Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, and more.

Where: University of New England, Parramatta Campus, 232 Church Street, Parramatta.


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