Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, keynote speaker and creativity specialist, focusing on story and creativity and the way they can change people and culture.
Joel was the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships in the USA as well the co-founder of community arts organisation, ‘The Centre for Poetics and Justice’ (2010-2013) and the host of the Australian National Poetry Slam for the State of Victoria (2017-2019). Joel is currently the Director of The School for Creative Development and works extensively with leaders, teams, entrepreneurs and creatives to help them navigate their way forward. As a creativity specialist, Joel can help you inspire your people and your team, bring innovation back into your work culture and take leaps forward in your own creative practice.
After fifteen years full-time within the creative industries Joel has seven spoken word/music albums and six published books. With clients like Village Roadshow Entertainment, The Design Coach (interior design agency), The International Transforming Education Conference and Amnesty International he covers a wide variety of vocational contexts. From the Sydney Opera House to Nashville’s STORY gathering, to The Netherland’s Graceland Festival Joel has shared stages with the likes of Linda Woolverton (Disney writer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast), Krista Monson (Cirque Du Soleil Creative director), Ken Black (Chief Creative Officer at GMR), Preston Dyches (lead storyteller at NASA) and so many more.
With insightful, inspiring keynotes and impassioned performance Joel can take your event to a whole other level of creative engagement.
FLOW: The Vital Work of Creative Innovation
When change and disruption come, like a violent storm, only those ships ready to embrace what creativity has to offer them, are the ones able able to keep afloat. This is because, in-built into creativity, are the very tools that you will need to keep sailing on these ever changing seas. An inspiring keynote transposing the learnings from the Creative Process of writers and artists into lessons for how organisations and individuals can keep afloat whatever the weather.
BLANK: When Inspiration Has Left the Building
For anyone seeking innovation, creative blocks are most often the product of our fears. To push past these blocks, to confront the fear, takes a great deal of courage. Yet, every time they show up at the page or the canvas, this is where the artist plays, just outside the comfortable, in the world of RISK. It is in this place too where inspiration is found, not as some elusive thing, but rather through the very intentional choice of slowing down to be present to both the inner world and the outer world. This presentation gives people the courage and the practical steps to both push through their fear and to tap into the inspiration all around them.
FERTILE: Creative Process and the Germination of New Things
Creativity doesn’t just happen. Neither does transformation. Every successful writer, storyteller and artist goes through a risky, uncomfortable and yet incredibly fertile creative process that transforms germinating ideas into reality. The individual and the organisation must embrace creative process in the same way if they too are seeking innovation. Based on the very intentional process of Joel Mckerrow’s creativity this presentation gives people a practical framework for developing their burgeoning ideas into existence.
STORY: The Power of Re-Storying
Story-telling is not just something writers and film-makers engage in. Story sits at the very heart of the individual, of organisations and of society as a whole. The stories that we tell become who we are. It is imperative then to understand how story constructs both individual and corporate identity, and how the frameworks within narrative, from books to films to mythology, can give us a way to live out a better story as people and as organisations. This presentation invites listeners into a narrative process of re-thinking their individual or corporate identity and re-storying who they are desiring to be.
Joel as Poetic Event Scribe at Story Gathering in Nashville
Joel performing in The Netherlands
“Joel is a special human being who brings care and magic to everything he works on. Our community of storytellers are among some of the most creative people in the world, and he displayed a unique ability to inspire and move them deeply. “
“An extraordinary blend of warm generosity, deft poetry, powerful charisma and no ego. I left awed and authentically grateful to be in his presence. “
“Joel is a powerful presence in any room. He makes each individual feel seen, valued, and connected to a deeper place. His poetry is booming, spectacular; but his message even more. He is in the uppermost tier of speakers I’ve worked with, so much so that I hired him again, and again.”
“Joel is one of Australia’s most compelling speakers. His ability to capture the attention of an audience in a moment is remarkable and breathtaking.”
‘A poet who can move an audience to hold their breath, to hang on every word, or cause tears to tumble, as the master of words leads you on a journey, at times, in self-discovery. Joel encapsulates everything that Storyfest is. He engages and nourishes both the young and old with his performances and encourages them to discover their own voice.’
“The Centre for Public Impact invited Joel to come and work with us for a couple of hours and he did not disappoint! A diverse workshop of community members and local business people who had never written before were turning out poems and freely writing about their experiences. The group really enjoyed the session, and were inspired by both Joel’s performance poetry and the way he scaffolded their creative process. I have no hesitation in recommending Joel to others doing similar work.”
“Joel is a man of clear character and passion. His ability to connect and relate the creative process with meaning and relevance, is absolutely unique. Speakers such as Joel are a terrific gift to come by, for any audience within any industry.”