Drop the Mic: Nordic-Baltic Poetry Network

Drop the Mic


Artists from Iceland, Estonia and Norway participated in the project DROP THE MIC - Nordic-Baltic Poetry Network on behalf of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Reykjavík, Tartu and Lillehammer. Krakow City of Literature and Heidelberg City of Literature also took part in the project. The network encourages the interdisciplinary interplay of poetry with spoken word, slam, rap, songwriting and music in general, which traverses linguistic, cultural and artistic barriers and develops infinite narrative possibilities that are often more ‘democratic’ and approachable to audiences.

The project was supported by the Nordic Culture Point.

Drop the Mic took place in five UNESCO Cities of Literature in two stages in the years 2016 – 2020 as well as online. The cities are, as mentioned above, Reykjavík (Iceland), Lillehammer (Norway), Tartu (Estonia), Heidelberg (Germany) and Krakow (Poland). Artists from Copenhagen also took part in the first part of the project.

The participating artists are slam poets, authors, actors, directors, musicians. All have in common working with the written or spoken word in some way. They met in different Cities of Literature in Europe and worked together, both off- and online. The group also met other artists and cultural organizers during their visits and took part in workshops, meetings, festivals and events.

As a project, Drop the Mic, aimed to connect performing artists that work with words and music from the UNESCO Cities of Literature Lillehammer, Reykjavík, Tartu, Heidelberg and Krakow. The artists shared knowledge and experience, created together and got to know the spoken word scenes in the participating cities.


Milozs Festival Drop the Mic

International Cooperation of Artists

The aim of the project was to connect artists and cultural organizers in the fields of literature, music and performance across geopgraphical boundaries and art forms in order to further cooperation, creativity, innovation and sharing of knowledge and experience. 

In Reykjavík, the project was hosted in connection with the Reykjavík Reads Festival and Iceland Airwaves, in Krakow within the Milozs Festival and in Tartu in connection with the Prima Vista Festival and Crazy Tartu. The artists also took part in Word Up! poetry slam in Heidelberg and poetry slam events in Copenhagen in the first part of the project. Events and workshops in Heidelberg and Lillehammer during the second part of the project had to be dropped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drop the Mic Reykjavík 2019

The artists

A large number of artists and cultural organizers took part in the project in one way or another; by participating or leading workshops, lecturing, organizing events and taking part in meetings and events. The following people made up the core group of artists that traveled between cities and worked together over time, both on- and offline.

Drop the MIc - 2018 - 2020

Amelie Kasin Lerstang, Bendik Vada, Hilde Susan Jægtnes and Erik Eikehaug, Lillehammer.

Gunnar Ragnarsson and Kolfinna Nikulásdóttir, Reykjavík.

Kaisa Kuslapuu, Sirel Heinloo and Toomas Leppik, Tartu.

Drop the Mic - 2016 - 2017

Jón Magnús Arnarsson, Ólöf Rún Benediktsdóttir and Vigdís Ósk Howser Harðardóttir, Reykjavík.

Jaan Malin, Sirel Heinloo, Janar Sarapu, Siim Lill and Rauno Alliksar, Tartu.

Dennis Buchleitner, Peter Dyreborg, Sarah Hauge and Rasmus Rhode, Kaupmannahöfn.


Drop the Mic workshop Reykjavik 2019

Videos and websites

Portrait videos with the artists:

Seven artists that took part in the latter part of Drop the Mic introduce themelves in short videos. Sigurður Möller Sívertssen at Skýlið made six of the videos for the Reykjavík City of Literatre in November 2019. The seventh, with Sirel Heinloo, was made in Tartu in 2020.

Gunnar Ragnarsson

Kolfinna Nikulásdóttir

Erik Eikehaug

Hilde Susan Jægtnes

Kaisa Kuslapuu

Sirel Heinloo

Toomas Leppik


Drop the Mic - Kaisa and Toomas

Other videos from the project

From Words to Lyrics
Discussion about lyric writin at the Iceland Airwaves Lounge Conference in 2018.
Participants: Ásgeir Trausti, Emiíana Torrini, Kolfinna Nikulásdóttir and Sjón. Moderator: Elísabet Indra Ragnarsdóttir.

Organizers: Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature and Reykjavík Music City for Drop the Mic and Iceland Airwaves Lounge Conference.

Workshop in Reykjavík, November 2019
Gunnar Ragnarsson, Kolfinna Nikulásdóttir, Kaisa Kuslapuu, Toomas Leppik, Erik Eikehaug and Hilde Susan Jægtnes.

Performance in Reykjavík, November 2019
Gunnar Ragnarsson, Kolfinna Nikulásdóttir, Kaisa Kuslapuu, Toomas Leppik, Erik Eikehaug, Hilde Susan Jægtnes and Sirel Heinloo performed the work Birthday - a work in progress - in Mengi, Reykjavík.


Relevant festivals / Events in the participating cities

TarSlämm, Tartu

Prima Vista, Tartu

Crazy Tartu

Norwegian Literature Festival, Lillehammer

Iceland AirwavesReykjavík

Reykjavík International Literary Festival

Suttungur Poetry Festival, Reykjavík

Milozs Festival, Krakow

Word Up! poetry slam, Heidelberg

Heidelberger Literaturtage

Slamovision - UNESCO Cities of Literature Spoken Word Contest

Danish Poetry Slam

The UNESCO Cities of Literature Reykjavík, Lillehammer, Tartu, Krakow and Heidelberg thank the artists and all those who took part in Drop the Mic for the cooperation, inspiration and the sharing of creativity. As stated in one of the lectures in Reykjavík:


We thank Nordic Culture Point for the support, without which this project could not have been realized. 

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