University of Wolverhampton digging into roots of Black Country humour

By Thomas Parkes | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

A university has delved into humour in the Black Country in a bid to find its roots.

Student Karen Adcock, senior lecturer Josiane Boutonnet and students Amy Amison and Simon Williams

Teachers and students from the University of Wolverhampton's School of Humanities have come together for the project.

It will aim to find out what is unique about Black Country humour by unearthing stories of comedians and comedy from 1950 to 2000.

The scheme, Finding out Funny Roots, is being run by Creative Black Country.

Josiane Boutonnet, senior lecturer in English Language and deputy head of humanities, said: “Learning about Black Country humour is very important to humour scholars and those involved in the project, and until now there has been no organised research of humorous materials in the region’s archives”.

“There is a revival of interest in the history of the region. The dialect itself is distinctive with a long history and one way in which it is transmitted and preserved is through the telling of jokes.

"Humour is crucial to the shaping of meanings, situations, selves and relationships and an essential ingredient in Black Country folk’s way of life.“

Students studying for degrees in English, creative and professional writing, and linguistics, have volunteered to take part.

Jenny Smith, creative producer at Creative Black Country, said: “Humour is an intrinsic part of the Black Country’s tradition, community and values with some of the UK’s most celebrated comedians hailing from the region.


“We are in the process of speaking to local people, with the help of students from the university, asking them to share their stories and memorabilia of local people – from comedy clubs to jokes that people might remember.”

The Funny Things Festival, run by the group, celebrates Black Country humour – and is taking place from October 26 to November 20 with more than 80 events planned.

Theatre, stand-up, spoken word, music, film, family activities and talks will all take place.

Karen Adcock, English Language and creative writing degree student, said: “Being involved in the Finding our Funny Roots project has given me the chance to apply and develop some of the learning from my course modules.

“It has been a great opportunity to be involved in the project and the Funny Things Festival, and has given me some different ideas about going on to further study.”

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at

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