We are delighted to announce that thanks to generous support from the Wellcome Research Resource Fund, our Body Language archives project will now run until January 2021.
It seemed a very different world when we began our Wellcome Research Resource-funded ‘Body Language’ project back in September 2017. The aim of our project is to catalogue, preserve and make available three significant collections relating to movement, dance, gymnastics and physical education in Scotland and beyond. The collections include the Margaret Morris Archives, the records of Dunfermline College of Physical Education and the records of Scottish Gymnastics. You can read more about the project and collections on our ‘About’ page. The project was originally due to complete in July 2020 – but we are still here, and I am very pleased to report that we are not going anywhere soon. Thanks to a generous grant supplement and project extension from our project funder, our ‘Body Language’ project will now run until January 2021.
In February 2020, my main focus was centred around completing the cataloguing of the Margaret Morris collection. The cataloguing, conservation and preservation of both the Dunfermline College of Physical Education and Scottish Gymnastics collections were largely complete. I was working on final edits for those two collections, alongside the work on the Margaret Morris collection. The work required a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between boxes, creating the last of hundreds of box-lists, crafting and implementing a new intellectual arrangement for the Margaret Morris collection, and numbering the physical collections. I was also working with colleagues from our Digital Imaging Unit on the digitisation element of our project and with colleagues from our Library Digital Development team, developing the technical infrastructure for our new project website. The website will host the collections catalogues and provide contextual information for public engagement and research based around the collections.
By the middle of March 2020, Europe had been identified as the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was becoming increasingly evident that we may have to move to home working at very short notice. With the prospect of no physical access to the collections for an indefinite period, I began to capture as much information as possible about the remaining uncatalogued material. I hastily created box-lists and took photographs of the physical layout and arrangement of collections, to act as a memory aid and to allow me to continue project work from home.
I have been working from home since 18 March 2020. While I have been able to continue work on many of the outstanding project tasks at home, I and others on the team have been unable to physically access collections to complete essential cataloguing and digitisation work. And like so many people, our team are also facing some of the many and varied challenges that have come along with lock-down, such as increased childcare commitments, home schooling, and caring commitments.
We are delighted therefore (and a little relieved) that Wellcome have offered to supplement our original grant and to extend the project end date by 6 months. This will help enormously to mitigate some of the impact and challenges that we have faced, and continue to face, in light of the current global health crisis. We hope to be able to return to working with the physical collections before the end of the project – we miss them (and our colleagues).
The extension provides an opportunity, over the coming months, for us to share more here; about the collections, our work, and to highlight some of the interesting discoveries that we have made. We’ll be posting something every week, (with perhaps a guest post or two). Please join us on our journey as we work our way through the concluding stages of our project.
I am really happy to be able to work with these fantastic collections for a little longer. Thank you Wellcome!