The sport of Women's Flat Track Roller Derby has exploded across the UK in the last six years. From the first pioneering leagues - London Rollergirls, Birmingham Blitz Dames, London Rockin' Rollers and Glasgow Roller Girls founded in 2006 and 2007, to now more than 90 leagues in all corners of the country. History is being made.
The National Museum of Roller Derby was established in 2012 at Glasgow Women's Library as the UK's first permanent collection of ephemera and memorabilia relating to this new and exciting all-female, full-contact sport. Materials (such as bout programmes, merchandise, press cuttings etc.) are being donated by Roller Derby Leagues all over the country to form the basis of a national collection, which aims to properly document and preserve for posterity the fast-and-furious first years of Women's Flat Track Roller Derby in the UK and beyond.
The National Museum of Roller Derby project was officially inaugurated in June 2012 at a special event at Glasgow Women's Library. The 'national launch' took place at the Chaos on the Clyde tournament at Glasgow's Kelvinhall in August 2012. The museum's first public exhibition 'The Revolution on Roller Skates' was curated by members of Glasgow Roller Derby and Auld Reekie Roller Girls - Cara Viola, Maulin' Rouge and Bint Imperial and took place from 22 September - 13 October 2012 at Glasgow Women's Library.
In 2013, Glasgow Women's Library - the host venue for the National Museum of Roller Derby's collection - moved from its home at the Mitchell Library to the beautiful 1906 Grade B Listed Carnegie Library on Landressy Street in Bridgeton. Once settled in, this will provide a permanent home for the NMRD alongside the rest of Glasgow Women's Library's inspiring collection.
In 2014 the NMRD went on the road, with a major exhibition and events programme taking place at NN Contemporary Art as part of the Playworld exhibition curated by Catherine Hemelryk (aka London Rockin' Rollers' Rebel Rebel), and with a pop-up exhibition and stall at the UKROC Conference in Warwick in October 2014.
Meanwhile, back in Glasgow, the new Women's Library building is undergoing a exciting redevelopment project, which should be finished by May 2015. When this is complete, National Museum of Roller Derby volunteers will continue to develop connections with Roller Derby leagues across the UK with a view to organising more public events and exhibitions later in the year. Watch this space!
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