Ellie Harrison & the National Museum of Roller Derby
Ellie chose to use the invitation to contribute to GWL’s anniversary project as an opportunity to undertake an informal residency at the Library and to develop her knowledge and understanding of women’s history – specifically the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s.
Rather than produce an ‘edition’ to be sold to raise funds for the Library, Ellie chose to develop an ‘outreach’ project; an experiment in audience development. On 1 June 2012 “The National Museum of Roller Derby” was launched, with the aim of bringing a whole new, strong and revolutionary young audience to the Library, by using it as the home for the UK’s first official archive of the new and exciting all-female, full-contact sport of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby (WFTDA).
Working closing alongside the Glasgow Roller Derby league (with whom she is currently training), Ellie hopes to use this project to examine the essence of contemporary grassroots organisation captured in WFTDA mantra “by the skaters, for the skaters”. In this Olympic year, she aims to test the political limits of sport by brokering a lasting partnership between Roller Girls all over the country and the important shared heritage contained within the Library’s archive, to see what might emerge. At a time when the UK’s women are being disproportionately affected by so-called ‘austerity measures’, which may eventually risk reversing the important gains made in the 1970s, it is now, more than ever, vital that we remind ourselves of our successes in the past and work out how we can best work together in the present.
The National Museum of Roller Derby launched at GWL in June 2012:
Visit the NMRD website: www.nmrd.org.uk
Programmed to coincide with the 21 Revolutions exhibition at the CCA, The Revolution on Roller Skates was the first public exhibition at Glasgow Women’s Library of materials donated to the new museum’s collection. Carefully curated by members of Glasgow Roller Derby and Auld Reekie Roller Girls – Sharon McMeekin, Cara Viola and Kirstie Meehan – it offered an insight into the fast-and-furious first years of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby in the UK since its beginnings in 2006.
About Ellie Harrison
Ellie Harrison is an artist based in Glasgow shortlisted for the Converse/Dazed 2011 Emerging Artists Award and featured in The List Hot 100 – the 2011 definitive list of Scottish creative talent. She studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, Goldsmiths College and Glasgow School of Art, where she where she completed a Leverhulme Scholarship on the Master of Fine Art programme in 2010.
She defines her practice as emerging from the tension between the competing roles of artist, activist and administrator. Using skills and strategies drawn from each of these perspectives she creates playful and engaging work, in and out of artworld contexts, which aims to investigate and respond to the political and economic systems within which we all live.