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Your Creativity Guide

Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, creativity specialist and, having performed for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, is one of Australia’s most successful, internationally touring, performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEARFUND Australia’ and was the co-founder of community arts organisation, 'The Centre for Poetics and Justice' (2010-2013). Joel was the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in the USA (2012), is a TEDx speaker/performer, a successful play-wright and is a co-founder/host of the The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality Podcast. He is one of the teaching staff at the Melbourne Young Writers Studio and teaches creativity in degree level units for colleges such as Eastern College, Whitley College and ACOM.

From The Justice Conference to The Global Health Conference; from the ITEC education conference to the Greenbelt Festival (UK); from the Sydney Opera House to the Metropolis (Montreal); from Melbourne’s Townhall, Exhibition Centre, Atheneum and Forum theatres to the renowned Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, Joel has captivated audiences with both his speaking and his performance poetry throughout Australia, NZ, USA, Canada, Europe and the UK. On stage he has performed alongside such poetry greats as Anis Mojgani, Shane Koyczan, Propaganda, Sarah Kay, Phil Kaye, Ken Arkind, Buddy Wakefield, Mahogany Brown, Jive Poetic, Carrie Rudzinski and Luka Lesson.

In publishing Joel has released three music/spoken word albums, three published books of poetry, one non-fiction book about the spiritual journey and has had writing featured in such publications as:  Mindfood Magazine, Going Down Swinging Literary Journal, Spirituality for Youth Work (Cambridge Scholars Press), Australian Stories for the Soul (Strand Publishing), Gestalt Arts and Culture Journal, Red Letter Christians, New Urban World Journal, Relevant Magazine and many more.

Joel is a highly-sought after speaker at conferences, schools, colleges, corporate/organisational events, churches and gatherings all over the world. His speaking focusses on creativity (and how it can be used to change the self, society and organisations), identity formation and self-understanding as well as spirituality/worldview formation. With an engaging and motivational style Joel combines his poetic performance talents and storytelling ability with his wealth of experience as a full-time writer and performer within the creative industries, as well as his 17 years of in-depth work/study focussed on emerging adults and their identity, self-understanding, worldview and vocational formation. At these events he has spoken/performed alongside Richard Rohr, Brian McLaren, John Mark McMillan, Shane Claiborne, Lisa Sharon Harper, Jason Upton, Tony Campolo, Peter Rollins, Traci Blackmon, Eugene Cho and many others. In the last decade he has taught the creative writing process to over 50 000 students.

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For the last fifteen years I have worked within the creative industries as a writer, speaker, performer, educator, poet, photographer, film-maker, actor and a whole host of other things. Over this time creativity has become the passion of my life. Why? Let me tell you...

Dear girl in the audience,


I want you to know that I saw them. The tears. They fell silent and I held them. Let them gather and pool in my palms. A gift. And I do not know when they began but I do know how tears can feel like redemption and how tears taste like ocean and how they are always the very thing that needed to happen but you do not realise it until they are falling. So splash me with them. Don’t hide away as if you are scared I might reject such emotion, such a naked sharing. You have given me more than I can possibly contain in the largest part of me. I rejoice with you.


There is a way that somebody may stand up here on this stage and give of themselves until they feel small. I know this. I have done this. Too many times. Too many times lost, not present, not here, not now. But now, and here, we two know this moment. It wraps around us. A slow wind. The words now spoken once written on my page by a calloused hand and a broken pencil and all the doubts and fears that accompany the creative pursuit of just the right way to express this. You hear this. These words and I am awed at the sense of meaning found in the connection of a stranger. Your story you find in my own and suddenly we aren’t so lonely any more. Suddenly performer and audience is not the right classification. Suddenly you are crying. Suddenly open. Suddenly the unresolved finds its weave. Suddenly the space between us has crumbled.


It was you that started my own crying. It was you that brought my own healing. Your tears. They spoke so poetic into all I needed to hear. 


I just wanted you to know that I saw them.

Sincerely yours,

Joel McKerrow.

Academic Qualifications
  • Master of Arts (Vocational Practice) - 2010

  • Certificate IV Training and Assessment - 2010

  • Bachelor of Theology - 2007

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) - 2003

  • Three published books of Poetry

  • One Published work of Creative Non-Fiction (WOVEN)

  • Four Poetry/Music albums released.

  • One poetry/art/music exhibition (HUMAN)

  • Performed throughout Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe and the UK to hundreds of thousands of people.

  • Over 50 000 Students taught the creative process in the past decade.

  • Third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships

  • The Australian Emerging Writers Festival Poetry Slam Champion.

  • Featured in MINDFOOD magazine.

  • Featured in RELEVANT Magazine.

  • WINNER of the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement Short Story AWARD.

  • Founder of The Centre for Poetics and Justice.

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