I joined the research department In the School Of Languages and Social Sciences here at Aston University in December as a research associate working on the Black Country and Birmingham dialect Project. My previous work has been none academic - 38 years in the flooring trade and 4 years as a professional footballer. It is the other work I am involved with under the heading RoosterSpake a Black Country Arts and Culture partnership I run with my lifelong friend Laurence Hipkiss that compliments both my PhD studies and the work on the Aston project. Our work is varied and involves us with organisations on all levels - from folk clubs, to local councils, community groups, schools, the TUC, the Black Country Museum among many others. We are called upon to advise on content of heritage events, supply and manage festivals, contribute to journal articles and promote the BC through radio, TV and local press. Together we write and perform BC Folk and narrative pieces and have dialect books and novels published both by local publishing houses and our own RoosterSpake label with CDs released on the Rooster Label from Lozz’s own recording studio. Our regular contributions to The Black Countryman journal and interviews on local Radio, notably BBC WM always focus on notions of language, performance and heritage, all applicable to the Aston Project. We have recently contributed to a Black Country Cd which is raising money for cancer Relief which compliments the voluntary work I do for the McMillan Bridges trust where I work as a befriender for patients with palliative forms of cancer.
Articles relevant to the Black Country Identity and Place can be found in archives of the Black Countryman - quarterly journalArticles for Black Country Man based around Local Characters, i.e. The Wood Wittling Champion of the World
Three books of dialect poetry published by Kates Hill Press:
My research is focussed on the social role of the Black Country dialect from 1870 to 1939. It examines the pressures exerted on the working classes of the region to ‘change’ the way they spoke and the reasons the dialect resisted change and remained and remains a strong signifier of identity. Recently, with my working partner L Hipkiss, I have become interested in the histories of people born in the BC and those who moved into the area, first and second generation immigrants. We hope to gain funding to carry out sound and visual recordings of a number of members of the community from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to record both their life histories and the examples of code switching ie Polish to BC. The data will then be used to engage with schools and community groups with a view to setting up exhibitions and lectures based on work produced.
Awaiting decisions from various bodies on the above project outline
Often give talks about BC dialect to students at both Aston and Wolverhampton or schools primary and upwards throughout the BC.
Am undertaking a creative writing seminar at the University of Wolverhampton this autumn.