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Eclectic show tells story of female innovators

​​​​​​​The lives and work of female pioneers in movement, dance and physical education are to be celebrated at a new University exhibition.

The show features fascinating films, photographs and costumes from dance pioneer Margaret Morris, the Scottish Gymnastics team and the first college in Scotland to train female teachers in physical education (P.E.).

Body Language: Movement, Dance and Physical Education in Scotland

University of Edinburgh Main Library

26 July – 26 October, 10am to 5pm Monday-Saturday, plus Sundays in August

Influential women

Born in 1891, choreographer Margaret Morris developed a dance and movement therapy that continues to be taught around the world today.

Footage from 1926 showing tuberculosis sufferers using the therapy outdoors in Switzerland will be screened at the exhibition.

Morris’ notebooks – which offer insights into how the choreography was transcribed – will be displayed with striking photographs of people being taught the distinctive technique.

Paintings from Morris’ long-term partner John Duncan Fergusson – one of a group of four artists known as the Scottish Colourists – will also be on show. Morris was influenced by his work and use of colour.

Costume showcase

An Edwardian pinafore and 1950s playsuit from Dunfermline College of Physical Education will be on display in tribute to the first institution in Scotland to train women to be P.E. teachers.    

Photograph albums will highlight what life was like at the College, which was located in various Scottish towns and cities before becoming part of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education in 1998.

Inspiring teamwork

Impressive trophies, images and outfits from the Scottish Gymnastics team will also be exhibited, highlighting the inspirational team’s accomplishments.

Body Language is a Wellcome Trust funded project and has been organised in partnership with charitable trust Culture Perth & Kinross.

We are delighted to celebrate the significant contribution women have made in movement, dance and physical education throughout the 20th century. Working with Culture Perth & Kinross, we have delved our archives to create an enchanting and illuminating show that we are sure will delight audiences of all ages.

Kirsty MacNabExhibitions Officer at the University of Edinburgh

Related links

Main Library Exhibitions

Moray House School of Education

Wellcome Trust

Culture Perth & Kinross