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A collaboration between London College of Communication, LCC Green Week 2015, the UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) and the Museum of British Folklore, Figures of Folk explores ongoing traditions through a series of large format photographs by Graham Goldwater, of objects associated with British folklore, alongside letterpress posters created by LCC students, inspired by ancient phrases and words.
In 2009, Simon Costin, the Director of the Museum of British Folklore, put out a call to the nation’s Morris sides to replicate their team kit in miniature, as handmade dolls. . The response has been overwhelming, with nearly three hundred sides participating so far, in the creation of a physical archive.
Together with the Morris dolls, The Museum of British Folklore owns a collection of Jig Dolls – articulated wooden figures, which were used by street performers to create a rhythmic beat and movement, mimicking traditional folk dance. Both collections have been photographed by Graham Goldwater, exploring the ways in which the photographic image both documents museum objects and extends their meaning and reach. Both object and photograph become an artefact of dancing and celebration which has taken place in Britain for nearly five hundred years.
As a temporal equivalent, letterpress has also been in continuous existence since 15th century and the work produced by LCC students, Oliver Zandi, Stefania Lucchesi and Vaida Klimaviciute, pays homage to this tradition. Much as Morris dancing has grown in popularity after an earlier decline, the letterpress was superseded by industrial and digital methods of printing. Today, Morris now has over seven hundred active sides and letterpress has seen a huge resurrection of interest.
Both of these activities represent a means of reaching out and connecting to the old ways. But, rather than being a purely nostalgic exercise, their acknowledgment of a rich, deep-rooted past serves to highlight the value of continuity in building a stronger future.
Hand printed letterpress images produced by LCC students as part of the exhibition are available to purchase at £20 each and £120 for a set of seven. Please contact Oliver Kourosch Zandi at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank the Belles of London City for their performance on the opening night and also thanks to Professor Val Williams and Sarah Temple, along with the staff of LCC for all their help and support.