Linguistics lecturer launches Heritage Lottery funded installation around mining heritage

Natalie Braber’s project focuses on both the language and landscape of former mining areas and is being exhibited at Creswell Crags Heritage Centre this summer

Work from the exhibition, entitled ‘Bestwood Spinney’ by Kidology Arts
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Work from the exhibition, entitled ‘Bestwood Spinney’ by Kidology Arts

BA (Hons) Linguistics lecturer Natalie Braber will exhibit her mining heritage project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, at Creswell Crags Heritage Centre this summer. During this academic year, Natalie has been working with mining heritage groups, local schools and art collective Kidology Arts on developing an installation of panoramas, sounds and music.

Natalie gained funding for the project, entitled ‘Dot Hills’, last year. The phrase refers to the old spoil heaps that stood next to coalmines and collieries, forming a strong visual representation of the mining industry. Since the last working colliery in the region closed, many local areas have felt a loss of community as these sites are built over and re-landscaped, leaving little or no visual reminder of the legacy of mining in the area. This project aims to preserve the heritage of these landscapes and ensure their significance is not lost by teaching younger generations about local mining history.

Traditionally mining heritage is comprised of tangible artefacts such as lamps or tools. This project aims to highlight elements of mining heritage which are less obvious, but nevertheless very important to the local community; the language of miners and the industrial landscape that mining created. The project has included schoolchildren and mining heritage groups, working on drawings and recordings of speech in order to preserve the distinct mining language known as ‘Pit Talk’.

The exhibition includes visual and sound artworks inspired by the history and transformation of both the language and landscape connected to mining heritage. This project has used art as a vehicle to engage participants with and preserve 'Pit Talk'. Natalie commented: “We plan to extend the experience of the ‘brotherhood of miners’ to the next generation in the region. Miners are often surprised that their language, which has many unresearched variations, is of value, as it was taken for granted for so long. However, if this language is not preserved it could be lost within a generation if nothing is done to record it.”

The exhibition runs from Friday 1st June to Sunday 2nd September, and will be accompanied by workshops, which take place throughout the summer.

Linguistics lecturer launches Heritage Lottery funded installation around mining heritage

Published on 6 June 2018
  • Category: Culture; School of Arts and Humanities

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