Exhibition and archive

In 2017, the Doc Rowe Archive Exhibition has commissioned two fine artists and a photographer to create new artworks that explore the meaning and content of the archive, as well as contemplating Doc Rowe as collector. The exhibition will comprise of new artworks displayed alongside a curated selection of pieces from the archive and will open at Touchstones, Rochdale, in March 2018.

What is the Doc Rowe Archive and Collection?

The Doc Rowe Archive and Collection
comprises of audio and video material documenting British folk culture, the most extensive collection found in the country.  The Collection contains:
  • audio and video recordings, with related documentation and transcripts;  
  • photographs and transparencies, both archival and contemporary; 
  • written and printed material, such as field-notes, correspondence, posters, newspaper cuttings; and
  • exhibition and display material.  
Focused on the continuation of a living culture, rather than interpretation of the past, the collection is vital to our understanding and celebration of our living traditions.

Who is Doc Rowe?

Traditional song and custom has been the focus of Doc Rowe’s life. His voracious documentation of customs – including an annual pilgrimage to Padstow’s May Day since 1963 – has seen him amass an enviable collection which is currently housed in Whitby.

A seasoned teacher, speaker, broadcaster and writer on traditional song and custom, Doc is in demand for his knowledge. He is a committee member of the Folklore Society and the Oral History Society, and a member of the Traditional Song Forum. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate and the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s Gold Badge for his services to traditional song and dance.