Word Weekend and British Library to create new word bank

Help record a regional word bank at Words Weekend

Words Weekend, which is coming to Gateshead in December, will create a word bank to record and explore local dialects. Here’s how you can get involved. 

Words Weekend has announced a new partnership with the British Library to create a word bank that will document modern English usage in each region the festival visits. The recordings will be used to create a word map of modern Britain that will become part of the British Library’s extensive archive of accents and dialects.

The inaugural Words Weekend festival, programmed by Fane Productions, will take place at Sage Gateshead from 6 – 8 December 2019.

Over fifty events and workshops will take place across five different spaces of the iconic Gateshead venue, with diversity and accessibility at the heart of the programming. Over 35% of events will be completely free and all are fully accessible and BSL interpreted.

Authors include Grayson Perry, Stacey Dooley, Nadiya Hussain, Kerry Hudson, Marian Keyes, David Olusoga and Elif Shafak, plus many more to be announced in September. More information here.

Five Words Weekend festivals are planned for 2020; already announced are The Lowry in Salford and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London.

Record your favourite words

In a public space at each festival venue, Words Weekend will have pop-up recording booths where members of the public will be invited to record a word or phrase they find interesting or amusing in their local dialect or that they use with friends and family. They will be asked to explain how they use the word and to reflect on why they feel it is special to them.

The recordings will be deposited at the British Library, where they will be archived and made available online for schools, broadcasters, universities and researchers, to explore and use now and in the future.

Jonnie Robinson, Lead Curator of Spoken English at the British Library, said: We’re delighted to support Words Weekend in celebrating the linguistic diversity of the UK and are particularly excited that we will be archiving contributions of dialect and slang from visitors to the festivals – this collection will be a great addition to the Library’s wonderful archive of regional voices.”

Beth Gallimore, Artistic Director of Words Weekend, said: We are incredibly proud to be partnering with the British Library on the Words Weekend Travelling Word Bank. This project really captures what Words Weekend was set up to achieve; to create a national platform for diverse and under-represented voices. Starting at Sage Gateshead in December and continuing in 2020, our audiences will contribute to a Word Map of modern Britain, recording the words that matter to them and helping to preserve the unique identity of each region we visit. We can’t wait to hear yours!”

Visit the Words Weekend website to find out more and to get tickets.

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