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Teams must be made up of 4 or 5 students, all of whom must currently be studying at the same university.

Merger teams (teams made up for students from no more than 2 universities) are allowed where not enough students from a single university can make a team.

We generally allow only 2 students studying at post-graduate level per team. However exceptions to this can be made if a team is struggling to recruit members/a student's degree is not creative-writing related.

It is up to each university community how they select their team, however we strongly encourage you to host a slam to select the team to create as transparent and fair a selection process as possible. We ask that you encourage diversity within your team, promoting the opportunity to all groups within your university community, particularly those who may have had barriers to accessing such events in the past.

All team members and coaches will be given UniSlam passes, giving them free access to all talks, workshops and master-classes as well as all rounds.

Teams may also bring non-competing poets or supporters, who will have access to any non-tickets rounds and workshops* (*on a space-dependent basis). However they must purchase tickets for paid-access rounds.



Each UniSlam team is required to have 1 coach. This can be a member of the team or an external individual (e.g. a faculty member, another student, a professional artist). The coach does not have to be affiliated with the university, unless they are a performing team member in which case they must be a current student.

The role of the coach is to help the team prepare themselves for the competition. It is up to each team to approach/select an appropriate coach, UniSlam is not responsible for assignment of coaches.

Each coach will receive full access to the UniSlam summit; they will be able to participate in the development workshops and receive a free ticket to all of the rounds, including the Grand Finals.

Each year, we endeavor to hold a Coaches’ Slam, though this is not guaranteed.


Rounds & poems

Each team will perform in 2 preliminary rounds and will be required to perform 4 poems in each (8 separate poems).

Teams progressing to semi-finals will be required to perform a further 4 poems, which were not performed during preliminaries (4 separate poems).

Those making the Grand Finals will then perform 4 more poems, which may be new or may be repeats from preliminary rounds BUT NOT repeats from semi-finals (no repeats in consecutive rounds). Therefore each team must have prepared a minimum of 12 poems for the competition. Any repeated poem will automatically receive a ‘0’ score.

Group pieces (poems performed by 2 or more students) are encouraged.

Each poem, group or individual, must have a named primary author. No two poems with the same primary author can be performed in one round.

Rounds are scored by a pre-selected judging panel and may also include audience judges.

Poems are scored from 0.0 to 10.0 based on both the quality of the writing and quality of the performance.

No nudity allowed. No props are allow (e.g. instruments, costumes etc.). Points will be deducted use of nudity or props. (e.g. instruments, costume etc).

There is a 3 minute time limit on all poems with 10 second grace period, following which points will be deducted per second the poet runs over.

Timer starts from the poet’s first interaction with the audience (this may not be their first word, for example if a poet makes facial or physical gestures towards the audience as a means of interaction, the timer will start).

In tie-break situations, poets will be asked to perform a poem that has not been performed in that round yet. The consecutive-round no-repeat rule does not apply to this poem (e.g. for a finals round tie-break, you may use a poem that you performed in semi-finals). Only ties for first place will be broken in Semi-Finals and Grand Finals. This is the only situation where a poet may have a second primary authorship slot in the same bout.


In the case of a tie between teams for advancement from preliminaries to semifinals, the point differential system will be used to break said ties. The point differential system measures how close a team came to winning their bout. If two teams are tied with a "4" ranking, for instance (one team finished in second in both prelims, the other finished in first and third place in their bouts), then the tie would be broken be tabulating how far from victory they were: Team A finished in second place in both bouts. They lost bout one by -.6 points and bout two by -1.9 points. Their total point differential is a -2.5. Team B finished in first place in bout one, and third in bout 2. Their differential for bout one is ZERO, their differential for bout three is a -2.2 points. Their total point differential is a -2.2. In this scenario Team B would advance. It rewards teams for winning one or the other bout, and also keeps consistency between bouts by asking teams to compete against their own judges, and no others.

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