Notts dialect celebrated at new Mansfield library exhibition

A desire to resurrect and continue the use of some typical Nottinghamshire dialect has been the driving force behind a new exhibition at Mansfield Central Library.

By Shelley Marriott
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 2:24 pm
The Lost Words of Nottinghamshire exhibition is now open at Mansfield Central Library
The Lost Words of Nottinghamshire exhibition is now open at Mansfield Central Library

The Lost Words of Nottinghamshire project aimed to engage school children with Notts language and dialect in a series of workshops supported by local artist, Hannah Sawtell and poet Andrew Graves.

The results of their workshops are now on display at Mansfield Central library until April 17, before setting off to tour four more Inspire libraries across the county.

Andrew said: “Being a Nottingham-based writer means I can’t help but be fascinated by accents and dialects, as the county as a whole contains so many variations of both. Like other areas, Nottingham and its surrounding towns and villages, is awash with a verbal history.

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"Many words which are either still in use or have been forgotten, tell us who we are and describe our links to industry, environment and locality. Having been involved with the Lost Words project, mainly in schools, I have been delighted to see the enthusiasm shown by young people for slang and local phrases, both old and new.

"I feel really honoured to now be taking this project out to adults and the wider community in the form of creative writing workshops in Inspire libraries."

Artist Hannah Sawtell said: “One of the most interesting elements of this project has been to discover the rich treasure trove of local dialect words alongside those that I already knew and use.

"Choosing which words to illustrate combined personal connections to words such as with ‘Jitty’ or picking interesting characterful words such as ’sludgebump’.

"It was a joy to be a part of.”

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The project, supported by Inspire Libraries and the Miner2Major Landscape Partnership scheme, was delivered by Natalie Braber, Professor of Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University, who received funding from the Arts Council to carry out this work.

Natalie said: “Our language is an important part of our local identity and there are many dialect words which are typical of Nottinghamshire.

"This project engaged young people with these words, using the words as a tool to engage with poetry and illustration.

"The feedback is that it had an empowering and inspiring effect on our participants – providing an accessible way into forms they might otherwise feel excluded from. It has enabled them to engage in dialogue around the value of local words in expressing thoughts, leading to a deeper appreciation of language which they found a great experience.

"Many of them were very excited that their work would be part of a real-life exhibition.”

There is also the chance for members of the public to get involved at Andrew Graves’ Notts Lost Words workshops, where he’ll take you on a weird and wonderful journey through the Nottinghamshire dialect, showing you how to construct poetry and stories using old, familiar and lost terms and expressions, at Mansfield Central Library on Saturday, March 26.

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