This talk engages with a recurring popular quandary: Why does England not have a national dress?
Described by renowned British folklorist Steve Roud in The English Year as the ‘arch-symbol of official fakelore’ the concept of national dress can be divisive. Despite this, the idea of an English national costume is not dead and continues to capture some element of the public imagination. If the relatively recent letters section of various national newspaper are anything to go by, then morris dance costumes are considered to be a possible contender for the title.
Starting its exploration in the Edwardian folk revival and finishing in the late twentieth century, this talk will consider the shifting relationships between revival morris costumes and the deliberate projection of Englishness. In summary it will, with all due seriousness, explore the arguments for, and against, treating morris dance costumes as a form of English national dress.
There will be time for Q&A.
Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe is in the process of completing her PhD on the subject of English social folk dance at the University of Roehampton. She originally trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in costume making, and runs the English Folk Costume Archive. She continues to have an active research interest in material culture and dress.
– English Folk Costume Archive: https://www.facebook.com/englishfolkcostumes
– Academic Profile: https://roehampton-online.academia.edu/ChloeMetcalfe
– EFDSS guide to English folk costume (authored by Middleton-Metcalfe): https://www.efdss.org/learning/resources/beginners-guides/34-english-folk-costume
– VWML Social Folk Dance Bibliography (authored by Middleton-Metcalfe): https://www.vwml.org/images/VWMLASSETS/PDFs/IntroductoryBibliographyTraditionalSocialFolkDance.pdf
– The Grand Union Canal Entertainment Company (Middleton-Metcalfe’s performance act): https://gucecompany.com/
– The History and Development of Dark Border Morris (authored by Middleton-Metcalfe): A MF Digital Publication: https://www.morrisfed.org.uk/merchandise/cds-books/
Please complete this online form: Register for the Talk – Considering Morris Dance Costume as English National Dress; you will receive a confirmation email immediately (check your spam/junk/promotions folder!). We will send you a Zoom link a couple of days before the event. Open to all – you don’t have to be a member of a team in The Morris Federation.
If you enjoy this event, then it would be wonderful if you could send a donation, small or large, to Chloe’s chosen place – The Morris Federation. Click ‘Buy Now’ to donate by Paypal (opens in new window – enter “Chloe” in the description, and close that window when finished). Or contact us (select Membership & Merchandise) for our BACS details – please use “Chloe” as the reference for your donation.
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