Where’s Our Spake Gone?

‘Where’s Our Spake Gone?’ was a Heritage Lottery Funded project that aimed to record and celebrate the distinctive dialect and language of the Black Country. The project is focusing upon the four Black Country towns of Tipton, Gornal, Oldbury and Cradley Heath. It features the recording of over  seventy new oral history interviews; the production of contemporary photographic essays and short films; creative workshops; five artist commissions; four bursary artists; four celebratory events featuring performances and exhibitions; the publication of a project book and an accompanying DVD.

It ran from June 2014 until July 2016.

Book Launch
We had the launch of our project book ‘Our Spake’ at Dudley Archives on the 2nd July. You can see a short film from the afternoon below. You can find more information about the book here .

Oral Recordings
At the heart of the ‘Where’s Our Spake Gone?’ project is the recording up to seventy conversations with local people across the four project towns. The recordings feature conversations that focus around the meaning of particular words and phrases used across the Black Country. As part of this participants have been sharing their own stories about the changing culture of everyday.

Photography and Film
The project commissioned four films to combine extracts of the recorded interviews with contemporary and archival photography. All four films are now complete and can be viewed here.

We have worked with many of the participants to produce several collections of photographs of themselves and important images from their family albums. You can see some to these collections here in the participant’s section and listen to extracts from their recordings.

Workshops and Artist Commissions
We have commissioned many Black Country practitioners –  artists, poets, writers and performers – to work with various communities and groups across the four towns to explore and reflect the themes of the project. You can see some of the results of this work in the practitioner’s section.

We were awarded funds from Arts Council England which we used to support four bursary artist awards. You can see the more about the bursary awards here.

Celebratory events
We have hosted four celebratory events in each of the project towns. These featured the screening of the commissioned films, the exhibition of new and archival photographs, and the presentation of new work from the commissioned practitioners and artists.
Our events were held here:

‘Where’s Our Spake Gone?’ team:

Project Manager and Lead Artist: Geoff Broadway
Project Coordinator: Juanita Williams
Project Consultant: Brian Dakin

Project Photography: Geoff Broadway and Kate Jackson
Website Design: Geoff Broadway
Logo Design: Blue and White Creative

Featured Photograph: Brian Dakin performing at the Cradley Heath event.