Doc Rowe has, for many years, been amassing an archive of material documenting British folk culture and customs. Following confirmation of Arts Council support, it has been announced that there will be an exhibition of artworks inspired by this archive.
Two fine artists and a photographer – Natalie Reid, Anna FC Smith and Bryony Bainbridge – are set to work with Doc to explore his archive and collection, amassed over several decades. Following three days of research and development at the archive, based in Whitby, in January 2017, the artists will create new, original artworks which explore the meaning and content of the archive, as well as contemplating Doc Rowe as collector. The new artworks will be displayed alongside a curated selection of pieces from the archive chosen to reflect customs found in the area local to the exhibition or selected in order to complement the themes explored through the new artworks.
Project manager, Stephanie West, says: “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.”
Research and development is underway, with the exhibition opening in two locations in 2018.