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Archiving the arts

The Dorset History Centre is taking part in Archiving the Arts, a national strategy to collect and preserve the records of artists.

Dorset History Centre (DHC) already holds the archives of world-renowned sculptors Mary Spencer Watson and Dame Elisabeth Frink.

By collecting the key records of the activities of artists and arts organisations we will ensure that they become part of the county's permanent historical record.

Dorset History Centre's role is to:

  • Preserve archival material in optimum conditions
  • Provide access to heritage both locally and online
  • Promote the use of the records via learning and outreach

In Dorset this new initiative to provide a 'second life' for our artistic heritage builds upon existing internationally significant archive holdings of Poole Pottery and the sculptors Elisabeth Frink and Mary Spencer Watson.

DHC wants to encourage current users and future generations to respond to and re-purpose the evidence of Dorset's rich artistic legacy. 

How you can help:

As part of the Archiving the Arts initiative, DHC welcomes enquiries from artists, arts organisations and anyone who may have information or material that relates to Dorset's culturally significant artistic heritage. Please see our introduction to Archiving the Arts for potential depositors (pdf, 231kb) (opens in a new window),or contact us to discuss your collection.

Typical artistic archives include: 

  • Photographic, moving image and sound recordings 
  • Ephemera - e.g. posters, catalogues  
  • Studio and working papers
  • Personal papers - e.g. diaries, correspondence 

Images: Elisabeth Frink, c. 1975, courtesy of the Frink Estate; a page from a Poole Pottery design book, c. 1930s; and Mary Spencer Watson, c. 1935, courtesy of the Mary Spencer Watson Archive.

You may enjoy viewing these panels which give more information about the arts at DHC: Art Fair Panels (pdf, 2Mb) (opens in a new window)

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