A group of young buddies will join Paisley’s long tradition of radical poets at this year’s Sma’ Shot Weave Festival as part of a national campaign to engage young people in literature and culture.

The annual Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day event will take place on Saturday 7 July and will see the return of the popular Dooslan Stane stage. This year it will welcome a group of young people from Paisley and further afield who are keen to carry on the town’s long history of celebrating poetry and the spoken word.

The Dooslan Stane is an important aspect of the day’s events as it has close links with the textile industry. The stane or ‘stone’ was once a meeting place for the Weavers Union and was used as a ‘soapbox’ where the weavers could review the hot political topics of the time and air their grievances against the mill owners.

This year it will serve as the platform for a different kind of activism as young people share their experiences in their own words. The activity ties into the wider Year of Young People 2018 programme which aims to give young people a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, create a more positive perception of them in society.

The Youth Poetry Slam is part of a wider national project – the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam – the project deliberately targets educational and social disadvantage, crossing barriers by using fun, youth culture to nurture language and literacy and to engage young people in literature and culture and upskill them with creative ways to manage mental health.

A group of young people from Port Glasgow High School who won the title back in 2016 will work with young people at Create Paisley to produce work that will be performed on the day.

Emma from Port Glasgow High School, said: “Winning the title of Scottish Youth Poetry Slam Masters 2016 was amazing and since then we have gone on to teach poetry workshops to primary schools and performed for Prince Harry and Megan.

“We are very excited to be meeting and collaborating with young people from Create Paisley to make a performance for the Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebration and can’t wait to get started.”

Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, said: “Giving young people a constructive and creative outlet to allow them to express themselves is a great way to ensure good mental health and it’s great to see that young people from Port Glasgow and Renfrewshire coming together to share their ideas and talents.

“I’m sure they will produce some fantastic work and I look forward to seeing them perform at this year’s Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebrations.”

ConFAB arts company is responsible for delivering the national Scottish Youth Poetry Slam project and has been working with groups across Scotland.

Artistic Director for conFAB, Rachel Jury, said: “Poetry is all about what you want or need to say without the constraints of rhyme and meter that you learn in school. It’s a much freer medium for young people to communicate in their own way, express themselves and build confidence.

“It’s a great thing for these young people to have their views and experiences heard and will enable them to explore their own voices, manage their creativity and improve their mental wellbeing.”

The young people from Port Glasgow High School will meet with members of Create Paisley from 4 July to participate in a series of workshops where they will come up with the pieces they will perform on the day.

Create Paisley Project Manager, Alan Clark, said: “We’ve been doing a lot with young people in the community around writing and poetry in the last year or so. It gives young people a sense of encouragement to use poetry as a tool to express themselves.

“It’s particularly significant that that the young people participating in the Youth Poetry Slam will have a chance to perform on the Dooslan Stane stage and bring their own type or modern-day activism to the event.

CREATE Paisley have collaborated with PACE Theatre Group are producing Write Here Write Now, a Young Writers Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, which will be open to young people aged 8 – 26 who will create and develop new writings, focusing on plays, songwriting and poetry.

To find out the full details and programme for this year’s Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebrations visit: www.paisley.is.

To find out more about Write Here Write Now visit: www.write18.com or to get more detail on the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam visit their Facebook page @sypslam