The mission of Spoken Word Canada (SpoCan) is to nurture, develop, and advance spoken word artists, the professional spoken word community, and the art of spoken word in Canada.


SpoCan was formed by representatives from several local spoken word scenes after Wordlympics, which was held in Ottawa in 2004. Wordlympics was the first national gathering of poetry slam teams in Canada. In 2005, the festival changed its name to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, which has continued as the largest annual gathering of Canadian spoken word artists.

2011 marked the creation of the second SpoCan-sponsored event: Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS). CFSW is a team event and changes city every year. CIPS is held in Vancouver on an annual basis in April.

In 2012, the structure of SpoCan was drastically altered at its AGM. The former Executive became the Board of Directors, and the former Board of Directors became the Member Series.

The third SpoCan-sponsored festival was started in response to the growing number of Youth Slams. YouthCanSlam was launched in Ottawa in 2013, and after a two-year hiatus, will return in 2017, renamed Voices of Today.

Thus, in the ten years since it was founded, SpoCan grew to facilitate the production of three national spoken word festivals: Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW), Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS), and Voices of Today.

SpoCan provides resources to member series and also responds to grievances from individuals who feel a rule or policy has been broken. This process engages either the Rules Committee or the Anti-Oppression Committee, depending on the details of the grievance.

The SpoCan board of directors is composed of twelve volunteer positions: National Director, National Slammaster, Secretary, Treasurer, Co-Chair Member Relations, Co-Chair Communications, and six members-at-large. The positions are filled through a nominations and elections process that takes place at CFSW. Directors are elected to two-year terms and may stand for reelection at the end of the term.

For more details on governance structure, consult the SpoCan Code of Honour and theĀ SpoCan Constitution and Bylaws.

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