By David Wright, Assistant Curator (Exhibitions) at Palace Green Library


Hello and welcome to this blog, created to run alongside our new exhibition at Palace Green Library, Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain. It combines objects and artwork from the Durham University collections with loans from University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland, as well as other local lenders. The exhibition explores four key fairy stories from Northern Britain, investigating the various ways these stories were preserved and shared and the tropes and themes that link them to stories from all over the world.

The exhibition, on show until 25 February 2018, begins with the character of the fairy that we know today, a pretty little thing with wings and a wand, eager to make all of your wishes come true. From this starting point we travel back in time to meet the fairies of Middle Ages, a much more ambiguous beast, appearing in many different forms with a nature somewhere between the divine and the demonic and just as likely to be hideous as beautiful.

Looking closely at the stories of Thomas the Rhymer, The Myth of Middridge, Arthurian tales such as The Wedding of Sir Gawain and the life and work of Robert Kirk, the exhibition also examines the geographical aspect of supernatural encounters, questioning why these stories emerged in the places and times they did.

Over the course of the exhibition we hope to feature new writing from the academic team who worked on the exhibition at Durham University as well as writers, academics and other curious folk from around the country. If you have a particular interest or specialism linked to folklore or fairies we’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch using the details on our contact page.

We’ll be posting every #folklorethursday from now until the end of the exhibition, so be sure to follow this blog to a place between worlds, as we explore folklore and fairy beliefs across Britain and beyond.


Entry to Between Worlds: Folklore and Fairytales from Northern Britain is free; opening hours are 10am – 5pm 7 days a week until February 25 2018. For further information about your visit, please visit the Palace Green Library website at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/palace.green/whatson/details/?id=36250.