Word Exhibitions Will Be Topic of Northern Conversations

Posted by: Press team on 22 March 2022 08:47

Northern dialect and identity are set to be top talking points with the opening of two new exhibitions and a series of events and activities in South Tyneside.

New exhibition, Our Words, builds on the content from The Word's previous popular Lost Dialects exhibition, extending the conversation about how language is perceived, what it means to be northern, stereotypes and ways of being understood.

The original Lost Dialects exhibition, which ran until June 2018, celebrated lost words of the North East dialect - words that are slowly disappearing from everyday conversations. These included terms that were used in local shipyards, mines, in street games and in social gatherings. Visitors to the exhibition also donated their own favourite words to create a 2,400-word bank of Lost Dialect.

Our Words includes work by visual artist Erin Dickson, including two audio visual pieces which explore accent, regionality and the fear of being misunderstood.

New illustrations and a large map will also portray what it means to be part of the South Tyneside community from creative conversations and people's stories collated by North east illustrator and spoken word poet, Lizzie Lovejoy.

While still exploring the topic of conversations, The Hive - a separate new installation at The Word - shines a light on amazing northern women through football analogies and devices as well as dialogue from local women about their goals and ambitions.

The content is inspired by the Kick-Off project and showcases the collaborative work between Women's Health in South Tyneside (WHIST) and poet and performer Kate Fox.

Both exhibitions will be available to view at The Word from tomorrow (Wednesday 23 March) and will run until July.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "We are incredibly excited to bring these two new exhibitions to The Word. They build on many years of work exploring the words used by the people of South Tyneside and beyond in the past and the present.

"The North East dialect is such an important part of our heritage. Many traditional words that were once commonplace in everyday conversations, particularly when shipping building and mining were thriving industries, are sadly fading from use.

"Our Words and The Hive extend the concept beyond just words and dialect to explore the language of conversation, how we talk to one another and how dialogue has developed in culture, society and sport.

"They are sure to be a popular attraction for anyone interested in the spoken word and what it might mean to be northern, either from South Tyneside or the wider north east."

The exhibitions are just part of a wider programme of new events and exhibitions that are taking place at The Word and across South Tyneside from March to July 2022. The programme -A Season of Northern Conversations, explores northern identities through conversations and connections with the local community.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to get involved to share their own stories and express what it means to them to be northern, from South Tyneside and the North East.

The Word is also working with Unfolding Theatre to deliver workshops for local school children and their families where they can create and share local stories together.

Councillor Atkinson added: "There are so many wonderful events and activities taking place over the coming months which have helped us to develop a wonderful 'season of northern conversations' for people to enjoy.

"A key part in developing the programme has involved engaging with local community groups and schools in new and creative ways. By keeping the conversations across all generations we can help to keep our unique northern dialect alive."

For full details of the Season of Northern Conversations programme of exhibitions, events and activities visit The Word at www.theworduk.org Alternatively keep up to date on social media: Facebook @worduk, Twitter @TheWord_UK and on Instagram @theword_uk

Notes to Editors:

About Erin Dickson

Exploring ideas of home through language, culture and vernacular architecture, Erin Dickson's practice is connected through tongue-in-cheek themes of 'Britishness'. Using a variety of digital and analogue techniques, her work ranges from time-based performance and photographic glass reliefs, through to monumental sculpture and installation.

Beyond digital fabrication and traditional sculpture, Dickson uses contemporary tools to engage in broader discussions about cultural constructions and craft histories. Exploiting gaps and inherent ambiguity in Artificial Intelligence systems, she challenges our understanding of the reliability of digital interpretation.

Her often humorous practice softens deliberately provocative subject matter, including mistranslation, British class systems and institutional bias, intimacy, and isolation. Her creative practice often takes place virtually, processing data to create 3D models and selectively delegating production.

Dickson is originally from South Tyneside. Since graduating from University of Sunderland in 2015, she has exhibited internationally, most notably in Glasstress at the 2015 and 2017 Venice Biennales and in 2020 as part of the group show 'Unbreakable: Women in Glass'. She has received international awards, most recently an Honorary Diploma from Kunst Palast, Germany, and her work is part of major international collections, including the V&A.

About Lizzie Lovejoy

Lizzie Lovejoy is an illustrator and writer based in the North East of England. Born Northern, Lovejoy has dedicated their life to celebrating and exploring the culture and heritage of the local area.

With this new project, Lovejoy is exploring the heart and soul of South Tyneside, reaching out to the community to hear their stories and visually interpret them. Putting together pieces of history with contemporary life, the goal is to create a range of artwork that embodies exactly what it means to be part of South Tyneside.

About the Kick Off Project

The Kick-Off project was devised by artists YARA + DAVINA working with National Trust sites Souter in Whitburn, South Tyneside, and Osterley House and Park, London.

It was a partnership project with Boldon Girls FC U16's, Arts 4 Wellbeing and WHIST in South Tyneside & Brentwood Women's FC and The Deaf Women of Ealing in London.

The Kick-Off project with Souter has been taking place across the borough since 2020. 

The project aimed to use sport and art to bring together a diverse group of women; including football players, artists and women who don't necessarily have experience of either, to collaboratively work together. The two groups have worked with the visual and oral language around football through a range of activities to attach new meanings which reflect contemporary women's concerns and passions.

The project explored issues around female unity and collective action, exploring the devices used to create unity in football, such as the kit, the chants, the scarves and the teams, players and fans. One outcome was the creation of a new all-female football table created out of women nominated by the participants. 

Last modified: 29 March 2022 08:50