Council for Culture conference: the importance of the Jèrriais language

October 10rd, 2013

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Council for Culture conference: the importance of the Jèrriais language

Office du JerriaisMinority Languages annonche:

Culture Conference to explore the French connection

This year’s Council for Culture conference will examine cultural links between Jersey and France. Topics for discussion include:

  • attitudes to the arts and heritage
  • projects linking the Island with Normandy and Brittany
  • the importance of the Jèrriais language

Visiting speakers are Dr Mari Jones, Reader in French Linguistics and Language Change at the University of Cambridge, and Benoît Lemennais, who is responsible for cultural education at the Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie in Caen.

The annual event, which is free to attend, will take place on Saturday 30 November at the Great Hall, Highlands College, and is open to the general public as well as representatives of arts groups. Participants are urged to book their place as soon as possible.

Deputy Rod Bryans, ESC Assistant Minister, said: “The conference has grown in popularity becoming a focal point for anyone interested in the arts or culture in Jersey. It is a great opportunity for Islanders to get their views heard by people who are directly involved in the sector and to contribute to the development of cultural policy. This year’s French theme is especially pertinent as we look forward to the 70th anniversary of D-Day next year.”

All four of Jersey’s States-supported cultural organisations – the Jersey Arts Centre, Jersey Opera House, Jersey Arts Trust and Jersey Heritage – have been involved in cultural projects with French neighbours over the past 12 months.

Rod McLoughlin, Jersey’s Cultural Development Officer said: “I think the joint projects that have taken place reflect increased interest in cultural partnership with France. Benoit Lemennais will be talking about the efforts which are made to connect the arts and heritage with as wide a public as possible. It plays a particularly significant part in daily life there.”

Monsieur Lemennais has been particularly involved in working with young people and disenfranchised individuals. A practising artist himself, he graduated from the University of Rennes in Brittany in performing arts and cinema.

Dr Mari Jones, a distinguished academic at Cambridge and visiting professor of Linguistics at the University of Bamberg, is particularly interested in minority languages. She has written and lectures extensively on the Norman French languages of the Channel Island and is the author of a short introduction to Jèrriais published by the Don Balleine.

She will be talking about the importance of Jèrriais, looking particularly at the influence of Norman French on the development of the English language.

The annual conference was set up following the introduction of Jersey’s Cultural Strategy and was first staged in 2008. The event also provides the opportunity to Education, Sport and Culture to report on developments since the previous year’s event and the Assistant Minister with responsibility for Culture, Deputy Rod Bryans, will be providing an update on the topics raised in 2012.