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At the heart of English folk
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

British folk culture celebrated in new exhibition

A new exhibition, inspired by the archive and collections of folklorist Doc Rowe, is set to open in Rochdale in March 2018.

In January this year, artists Natalie Reid, Anna FC Smith and Bryony Bainbridge spent three days exploring the audio and visual documentation of songs and customs held in the Doc Rowe Archive and Collection. They will each create new, original artworks based on what they found, exploring the meaning and content of the archive, as well as contemplating Doc Rowe as a collector.

Natalie Reid, Bryony Bainbridge and Anna FC Smith
Left to right: Natalie Reid, Bryony Bainbridge and Anna FC Smith.

As well as the new artworks, the exhibition will feature a curated selection of pieces from the archive selected to complement the new works, and to reflect customs from the area local to the exhibition.

"Doc Rowe’s archive is of national importance and significance. The sheer volume of audio and video material documenting British folk culture is unmatched by any other collection in the country, and for the first time, we have the opportunity to understand its continuing relevance by opening it up to artist interpretation.

"The exhibition will allow us to explore the role of the folklorist and collector in the present day, and how intangible traditional customs can be 'preserved' for future reflection and artistic contemplation."

Stephanie West, project manager

Doc Rowe has spent much of his life documenting songs and customs across the UK. In 2002 he received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Sheffield, and he was awarded EFDSS’ Gold Badge in 2005 for his services to traditional song and dance.

Find out more about the exhibition


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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