Introducing ‘Body Language’

‘Body Language: movement, dance and physical education in Scotland, 1890-1990’ is a new Wellcome Trust Research Resources-funded project between Edinburgh University Library Special Collections and the Fergusson Gallery, Perth  with the support of Moray House School of Education, Margaret Morris Movement International and Scottish Gymnastics. I am the archivist on this project and over the next two years I will be cataloguing, preserving and making available these three significant collections relating to movement, dance, physical education and gymnastics in Scotland:

  • The archives of Margaret Morris Movement International

Margaret Morris (1891-1980) established her own system for dance training, Margaret Morris Movement, which focuses on breathing techniques, posture and strength training with co-ordinated movements. Margaret Morris Movement International works today with mentally and physically disabled persons using Morris’s systems and techniques. The archives contain costume designs, music scores, choreography notes, scripts, sketchbooks, diaries, teaching and publicity materials, photographs and around 8,000 items of correspondence from individuals including Edward Elgar, Stanley Baldwin and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

  • The records of Dunfermline College of Physical Education

Dunfermline College of Physical Education, founded in 1905, was one of the first training colleges for women students of physical education and had an important influence on developing the role of movement and the body in educational practice. The records comprise governance, staff and student records, teaching materials, artefacts
including costumes and uniforms, photographs, and a collection of performance and
educational films. It also incorporates the records of DCPE’s Old Student Association.

  • The archives of Scottish Gymnastics

Scottish Gymnastics was founded in 1890 as a voluntary organisation representing a number of Scottish gymnastic and athletic clubs. Broadening its initial focus from military fitness to general health and wellbeing, it was significant for promoting and supporting gymnastics in Scotland and abroad. The archives contain minute books, correspondence, instructional material, photographs, rare books, journals and other printed material.

We are fortunate to have the support and collaboration of a number of academics on our Project Board who will be using the collections for research and raising awareness of this material to wider academic and public groups.

I’m looking forward to getting started working with these collections and sharing what I find in this blog!

Clare Button
Project Archivist

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