Founded in Chicago in December 2008 by poets and producers Robbie Q. Telfer and Shanny Jean Maney, the Encyclopedia Show showcases visual art, comedy, music, and spoken word on a wide variety of subjects revolving around a chosen topic. Each month a new topic is picked from the encyclopedia and related assignments are sent to a diverse group of novice and notable talents from Chicagoland and national artists in the slam, academic, and youth artists' communities. The Encyclopedia Shows provide audiences of all ages entertainment and creatively executed accidental knowledge.
Sponsoring the Encyclopedia Show, the Chicago Slam Works has been building on Chicago's unique heritage as the birthplace of modern-day performance poetry. Chicago Slam Works brings together audiences, poets, and arts organizations to promote well-crafted performance poetry through event production. The founding members of CSW are pillars of the international movement and the organizational force behind dozens of major poetic events in and around Chicago—as well as the world.