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Behind the Scenes of Common Ground (dur 5min) from Community Arts Network WA on Vimeo.

Common Ground

Common Ground is a spoken word poetry workshop that brings young people from diverse backgrounds together to explore and express their identity through the art of poetry, to find the stories that bind us together.

Using a skills development approach pioneered by Multicultural Arts Victoria, CAN partnered with MAV to run a pilot of Common Ground in Perth.

Poets from L-R Patch Miller, Amran Abdi, Iffrah Malik, Ocean Trimboli, Abdul Hammoud (back) Dilli Suhadji, Sukhjit Khalsa and Hamna Suhadji.

With support from Propel Youth Arts, the State Theatre Centre of WA and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, CAN delivered the intensive workshop in October 2017, culminating in a showcase performance.

Under the expert guidance of renowned poet and performance artists Abdul Hammoud and Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, five young emerging artists captivated the audience with their powerful works.

Iffrah Malik

Common Ground brought together people from different cultural and religious backgrounds to explore themes such as identity, authenticity, faith, belonging, conflict and peace.

Congratulations to our poets Ocean Trimboli, Amran Abdi, Iffrah Malik and Judy Pham.


Iffra Malik


Amran Abdi

Ocean Trimboli

Judy Pham

Common Ground Returns is a live performance of new, raw and powerful poems by a group of emerging spoken word poets.

Under the guidance of performance artists Sukhjit Khalsa and Jessie Oliver, as well as Zainab Syed, the poets met for weekly workshops to develop their prose and performance skills. The showcase was a culmination of five weeks of work where the new poets built upon their spoken word poetry skills.

The weekly workshops were presented by CAN, in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria to provide a platform for the voices of people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. The workshops were inspiring, creative, fun and aimed to share the stories and experiences that bring us together, rather than focusing on what sets us apart.

Filmed at the Blue Room Theatre in Perth, the showcase was the culmination of poetry workshop series led by performance artists Sukhjit Khalsa and Jessie Oliver.
Presented by CAN, in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria, Common Ground gives voice to people from diverse religious and ethnic.

“Its about sharing the stories that bring us together… not set us apart.” – Suhkjit Khalsa.

Common Ground Returns – Showcase highlights.

Padminie Kain. 

Michele Woods.

Gabriela Antonini.

Clara Wijaya.

Catherine Jamison. 

Abdul Hamid.

Patrick Kain.

About Sukhjit

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa is a first generation Australian Sikh, spoken word artist, educator, performer & human rights reformer based in Melbourne. Sukhjit is passionate about diversity and the importance of visibility in the performing arts and inherently merges her advocacy background with the arts. Her work predominantly provokes conversations around Australian identity, feminism, cultural confusions and the power of uncomfortable conversations. Within a short period, Sukhjit has gone from performing at the Opera House for the Australian Poetry Slam Competition in 2014 to performing on national television for Australia’s Got Talent, and most recently was a speaker at TedxUWA. She has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Missy Higgins and L-Fresh the Lion and her performances and workshops have led her to tour USA, Canada, UK and South East Asia, as well as across our very own nation.

Sukhjit Khlasa
Photo supplied

“It’s so exciting to be back in Perth to do Common Ground 2.0! Being in my hometown really makes all the difference in being able to deliver a spoken word program I feel so passionate about. I saw the fastest and most impressionable growth in the participants last year, it’s made me want to continue that skill building and confidence boosting for other young diverse people! Common Ground isn’t about pushing out more poets into the world, it’s about creating a space for open conversations around faith and identity and how we can use art to translate those thoughts onto a powerful platform that is spoken word! If you’ve ever considered poetry or performing or expressing yourself but just need a bit of support – please come and be part of the Common Ground family”



About Jesse

The use of whimsical themes and a sincere conversational style allows Jesse to tackle heavy topics in a palatable fashion. Topics such as his lived experiences of homelessness, mental illness, addiction and transition.

In 2015, Jesse made his debut in a heat for the national slam but missed out by half a point in the state final. From there he started a two year journey determined to grow, as an artist and a human. He went on to feature on national platforms such as the National Young Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival and the Digital Writers Festival
2017 finally saw Jesse’s shot at the Australian Poetry Slam Championship after landslide state scores. After what was described as the most heart wrenching slam at the Sydney Opera House, Jesse secured the title of Australian Poetry Slam Champion (Adult Division).
Back home in Perth, Jesse later jumped onto the red dot at Tedx, joined the Spoken Word Perth and National Young Writers Festival teams and sold out a FRINGEWORLD show called “Star-Crossed Poetry”. Before embarking on a national tour later this year, Jesse is hoping to continue contributing to the WA poetry community, writing more deeply about his experiences and finally finishing his poetry memoir.

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