Yorkshire dialect to be explored through rap, writing and art

Rap, art and writing workshops are being held to help hard-to-reach Yorkshire residents delve into their dialect.

The Ey Up! Project is working with young people, military veterans and people with mental health issues at libraries across North Yorkshire with each venue working with one of these audiences and a single artist over four weekly workshops. 

Part of a University of Leeds research project exploring dialect across England, work created at the events will go on display in exhibitions at the participating libraries. 

Art, writing and rap 

The first events are being held at Scarborough Library with participants from the Mencap charity, led by print artist Dawn Brooks.  

These will be followed by creative writing workshops with artist Andy Craven-Griffiths, in partnership with Pioneer Projects, at Bentham library and Orb mental health charity at Knaresborough library, starting late-August.  

Then in early September, Catterick library and Horton Housing in Selby library will host workshops for ex-service personnel with artist Suzie Devey.  

Rap artist James Koppert will lead the final workshops, working with young people in Scarborough.  

Great Big Dialect Hunt

The project follows North Yorkshire libraries’ celebration of Local and Community History in May, where visitors were encouraged to get involved with Leeds University’s Great Big Dialect Hunt, a survey to capture dialect and language across the country. 

The Hunt is part of the University’s Dialect and Heritage Project, a National Lottery Heritage-funded initiative which is working in partnership with five museums to present a snapshot of dialect in England today. Led by Dr Fiona Douglas from the School of English, the project is working on the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture. 

After the success of May’s events, North Yorkshire County Council’s library service secured £12,000 in funding from the Arts Council and the Dialect and Heritage Project for the new workshops. 

‘Incredible’ response

The council’s executive member for libraries, Cllr Greg White, said the response to May’s project was ‘incredible’. 

He said: “Residents have really enjoyed celebrating Yorkshire’s rich dialects and it’s a great way to increase awareness of local history and bring research into the way we speak to the attention of library users. 

“The standard of work has been really impressive and following the sessions we will be exhibiting a selection in the libraries for all our visitors to enjoy.” 

The next events will build on the words collated by the project so far and how they might be used. More words will also be generated and explored to produce original works for the library exhibitions. 

Picture of Scarborough sea front free to use via Tim Green/Flickr.