NSB Logo Ian Keteku Ian Keteku

Ian Keteku


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

World Champion Spoken Word Poet & MC

Ian Keteku is an award-winning poet and multi-media artist committed to using words as a prescription for society’s complications. He coaches teams, organizations and individuals of all walks of life to uncover their hidden voice. Ian explores themes of social justice, mental health, race, diversity, romance and beauty. He has collaborated with the governments of Denmark, Morocco and Ghana, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sesame Street and many others. Ian is also featured in the CBC documentary IF The Poet where he coaches a middle-aged man to enter the world of slam poetry.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
Contact us for more information about this speaker & their virtual presentations. Click here for some of the most popular formats for virtual events.
The Science of Your Story

Are you having the impact you want to have with your words? As a business leader, teacher, student, or creative we are all searching for the most effective and emotionally powerful way to tell a story and, more importantly, have it heard. Yet most of us have not taken the time to study what it takes to move people with our story in our presentations, our meetings or our conversations. It doesn’t have to be that way. Ian has studied the science behind what it takes to move people and coached thousands of individuals around the world to find the power in their voice and the value of their stories. This presentation blends poetry, science, and humour and will leave you feeling moved and ready to take on the task of communicating a particular message or idea with renewed confidence and power. Your team will learn how to; make every word count; make your message memorable; influence your audience; and find that place in you that speaks with conviction.


Speaking of Student Life

Through his unique style of Spoken Word, MC/Battle Rap and Comedy, Ian explores issues affecting our generation including sexuality, gender, race, mental health, and Beyonce! This interactive show addresses relevant campus issues while encouraging students to speak their truth in a constructive and creative way.


The Power of Words: Student Leadership

This presentation inspires individual students and groups to engage with the larger student body more effectively – using the power of their voice to become the assertive, engaging and charismatic leaders people look up to. Apply these skills to clubs/associations, student union elections, community events and causes, and watch participation and engagement flourish.

Platform Plus Presentations

Unique formats and ways to connect with audiences.
Workshop | Anti-Racism
Addressing injustice, privilege and discrimination are some of the most pressing issues of our time. Ian takes participants on an introspective journey which challenges their preconceived notions and prejudices. Though this participatory, interactive workshop Ian utilizes thought provoking activities, games and discussions to inspire action. Participants will leave the workshop feeling empowered with tools to help them tackle racial injustice in our workplaces, schools and homes head on. Ian has facilitated anti-racism workshops for schools, government and non-government organizations, prison institutions and ad-hoc collectives. After the workshops participants have a better knowledge of their own positionality and how to better foster anti-racist practices in their daily interactions. All participants need for this workshop are a pen, pencil and willingness to be vulnerable. This workshop is available online and in person.
Workshop | The Power of Words
This workshop contains humour, spoken word poetry and public speaking. Ian conducts a lesson exploring the different writing and performing styles we see around us in everyday society, how different leaders and inspiring individuals in the past have used language to communicate a message. He explores how we find inspiration and the mechanics of writing our ideas down. By the end of the workshop participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding for the importance of storytelling, an understanding of techniques used to express one’s self. There's a story in your throat "calling" for freedom and Ian encourages participants to find it. Participants are led through a process of finding the inner voice and transforming it into poetry.
Workshop | Your Story is Lasagna, Layered
Join Ian as he explores the layers to stories: those we want to tell, retell, the ones we haven’t figured out how to tell yet. As an artist, student, CEO or NGO we are looking for the most effective way to tell our story. Often stories can come across as preachy, unemotional or too academic sounding. How do we get our "message" to be effectively communicated both on an intellectual and emotional level? How do we intentionally dig beneath the layers to find the truth of our story? Ian helps audiences find the deeper and layered truth behind the issues and topics we choose to write and present about. Searching for the actual truth, opens up doors for creativity, expands audience reach and development, and leaves a lasting impression on clients, audiences, and ourselves.

Audience reviews:

  • Ian as poet brings us in closer, beyond the media headlines, into the story as he sees it, writes it, breathes it and believes it.

    - Moe Clark, litlive.ca
  • Ian’s poetry is staggering to say the least.

    - Raine Maida
  • Ian explores the idea of African identity through his own reflection on past history and present struggles.

    - Okayafrica
  • He brings sensitivity to social issues and the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees.

    - Frank Rackow , Radio Canada International

Speaker Biography

Ian’s poetry is an articulation of a generation’s heartbeat. A magician with syntax and a word sorcerer, he conjures new realities all in an attempt to better understand our existence. An internationally acclaimed spoken word poet he is a national slam champion and the 2010 World Poetry Slam champion. He uses his voice to inspire messages of peace, action and critical thought. Ian believes poetry is the universe’s way of showing us the beauty in emotion, the similarity in experience and the art of living. Born and raised by Ghanaian parents, Ian feels spiritually and passionately connected to his heritage. Ian’s work is strongly influenced by his upbringing and journeys throughout Africa. His work follows in the lineage of ancient African storytellers by paying homage to the past and revisiting themes and lessons from previous generations.

In addition, Ian is a devout practitioner of Afrofuturism; a philosophy of projecting the black experience into a celestial, technological future. He believes that words have a great power to bring diverse people together, and he uses both poetry and music to communicate messages of unity and courage. Ian has showcased his poetry and art all over the world and shared stages with some of the most renowned names in music and literature.

Ian is also a multimedia artist who often works with video and animation, producing thought-provoking poetic short films. He conducts poetry, writing and performance workshops for students of all ages, corporations and various community groups, inspiring people to accept the power of their own voice. He has also moonlit as a journalist and has been featured in CBC, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, TVO and countless other broadcast and print publications. 

He currently teaches creative writing and community activism at OCAD University in Toronto.
Ian believes we are all born poets, some of us just have not realized it yet.