Slanguages

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Slanguages is exploring the creative way artists employ and take inspiration from languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Patois, Pidgin, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Urdu, urban sign languages, and Yoruba. The project is wide-ranging and includes exhibitions, performances, and collaborations with artists, creative professionals and partners such as Punch Records, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and Sputnik Theatre Company, London.

In the words of Simon Redgrave, Head of Creative Development at Punch Records, "Slanguages is about different languages climbing into each other’s cars and driving away. It's about the collision of languages."

Find out more about the different Slanguages projects below. Sign up to our newsletter, or follow us on Twitter (#Slanguages) or Facebook, to hear more about our upcoming exhibitions, performances and other Slanguages activities.

Our current Slanguages exhibition will be at Birmingham City University until 21 December

Current Slanguages projects:

OXYGEN: A RUSSIAN PLAY TRANSLATED INTO HIP HOP THEATRE

As part of Slanguages, Dr Noah Birksted-Breen and Professor Rajinder Dudrah have been working with artists Lady Sanity and Stanza Divan to produce a hip-hop theatre version of Russian play Oxygen, written by Ivan Viripaev and translated by Sasha Dugdale.

In October 2018 we held a research and development performance at Birmingham City University for invited guests, followed by a Q&A with the artists and creatives. See the overview film below to learn more.

Full performance and Q&A

Learn more: 

Translating a Russian play into Hip Hop Theatre: a conversation

Collaboration and ownership in cross-cultural creativity

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SLANGUAGES EXHIBITION

The first Slanguages exhibition took place in Oxford in 2017 and will be touring the UK in 2018. The exhibition, curated by our Languages in the Creative Economy Strand in collaboration with Punch Records, features the work, archives and ephemera related to the work of three Birmingham-based artists who use different languages in their musical and artistic work. 

You can visit the exhibition until 21 December 2018 at the Parkside Gallery, Birmingham City University.

Birmingham launch:

Oxford launch:

Learn more:

Find out how a group of young people from different art disciplines reacted to the Slanguages exhibition

Guardian letters: Grime talent appreciated at Oxford University

Slanguages: how artists are getting creative with languages

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce: ‘Slanguages’ exhibition explores power of expression

Culture Calling: ‘Slanguages’ Exhibition at The Buttery

Watch the full exhibition launch in Oxford 2017, with performances and discussion from Rinkoo Barpaga, Lekan Babalola, Tanny Tizzle and RTKAL.

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YORUBA SONNETS

The Yoruba Sonnets pair spoken word poetry and mime from Dr Olu Taiwo with live music from Lekan Babalola's Sacred Funk Quartet. The result is a unique performance of ancient Nigerian verse incorporating Afro-beat music and the contemporary sound of Western Funk. Yoruba Sonnets was performed at Wolfson College, Oxford as part of the Slanguages project in February 2019. Film of the performance will be available soon watch this space!

Yoruba Sonnets at Wolfson College

Learn more:

What are the Yoruba Sonnets? Interview with Lekan Babalola

Review of the performance: Yoruba Sonnets: creative multilingualism in action

Yoruba Sonnets: audience feedback

Red lineMULTILINGUAL POETRY

 

The Slanguages project worked with Amerah Saleh and Bohdan Piasecki, poets from Free Radical based in Birmingham, on a multilingual poem entitled My Mother is Crying. The collaboration aimed to explore identities, the telling of human stories, and how art and multi-languages together can create shared moments of understanding and feeling between the performing poet and his or her audience.

Watch the poem performed at our Creative Multilingual Identities Conference in 2018 or learn more about the project (and read the full poem) on our blog.

Learn more:

My Mother is Crying: a multilingual poem

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PERFORMING LANGUAGES

The Performing Languages Conference in February 2019 saw academics, artists, performers and cultural practitioners come together to watch, discuss and debate what it means to perform languages. In the words of one conference participant, "What I liked most about the conference is that it didn’t simply advocate for creative multilingualism; it made it happen, there and then."

RTKAL performing at Performing Languages conference

Learn more:

Performing Languages: on multilingualism and language hierarchies

What does it mean to perform language?

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LANGUAGES IN THE CREATIVE ECONOMY SYMPOSIUM

(30 November 2018, Birmingham Repertory Theatre)

This symposium brought together a diverse group of theatre-makers, performers and academics to think about the relationship between creativity and multilingualism in the context of the performing arts.

Photos from the Languages in the Creative Economy Symposium

Learn more:

Patois and grime: language and identity

Thoughts on the day by Professor Philip Ross Bullock: On Equality, Inequality and Unequality…

One attendee shares his views on Ashlee Roberts' performance of Between Two Rocks: Chicken Merry Hawk Deh Near!

Find out what the participants thought of the day

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USEFUL RESOURCES

A guide to directing foreign-language plays [download a PDF here]

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Slanguages on Twitter:

Follow the progress of Slanguages on Twitter with:

#Slanguages

Some highlights:

Tweet about Birmingham Slanguages exhibition

Tweet about Birmingham Slanguages exhibition

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Tweet about Slanguages event at Birmingham museum

Tweet about Slanguages presentation

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