Meet Ian Patrick, Archive Volunteer, July – September 2019 

image of Ian Patrick and Alan Macpherson

The RSCDS Archive is located at the Coates Crescent office and is home to a variety of Branch records, published books pertaining to the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and history of Scottish dancing plus many photographs and recordings of dances. Much of the material is also available in a digital format and can be viewed online here:

The archives are managed by our Honorary Archivist Alan Macpherson and visitors are welcome to arrange a visit and enjoy the opportunity to look through the records.

For the past six weeks, Ian Patrick from Fort Worth, Texas has been assisting Alan and learning all about the work involved in maintaining the RSCDS Archives and we are very grateful for this additional support.

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What attracted you to volunteering at the RSCDS Archives at Coates Crescent?

The history of it!  When dances are called around the room, I was very interested to discover where they originated from and so this seemed like a fantastic opportunity to find out more. 

I was already keen on Ballroom dancing and Morris dancing, however, I got into Scottish country dancing through a friend who introduced Ceilidhs back to their Summer Camp. I now enjoy regular Scottish country dancing weekly classes at the Northern Virginia Branch and find it very sociable.

Have you enjoyed your time volunteering in the Archives?

Yes, it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve gained a much better sense of the history of it all and it was fascinating to read about the Northern Virginia Branch and see dance photos of members who are still familiar faces in the group.

What has been the most enjoyable part of the experience?

Mostly the digitisation element - it was interesting to find people I know in the dance and music community whose work and materials are now available to view online in the Archives.

What were you doing before volunteering at the Archives?

I had just attended the Pinewoods camp in the USA which involved two weeks of great dancing fun, including Highland and Contra dancing.

What have you learnt during your time at the Archives and what does a typical day involve?

I don’t think there really was a typical day but I did enjoy identifying records, cataloguing items and being involved in the digitisation of books, leaflets, pamphlets.

Plus, just having the opportunity to learn all about the history of the Society and the history of dances was fantastic.

Have you attended any Scottish country dancing while in Scotland?

Yes! I was delighted to have the chance to attend Summer School and participate in one of the Thursday evening dances at Younger Hall in St Andrews. It was also great to meet up with fellow dancers from the Northern Virginia Branch who were attending Summer School. I also enjoyed dancing with the Edinburgh Branch at some of their evening classes and socials.

What will you do next?

Keep dancing, remind the Northern Virginia Branch I am still a keen dancer and look for similar work in the Archiving sector!

To see more of our digital record collection, have a look at some of our videos.

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