Blog Posts

29 March 2018 – Five things we’ve learned about fairies through writing this blog – Jade Westerman, Exhibitions Assistant at Palace Green Library:

Just as Between Worlds came to an end, so must this blog. For our final post, we thought we’d round it all up by telling you the top five fairy and folklore facts we found most interesting.

21 March 2018 – On Dealing with Fairies – Pollyanna Jones, co-author of Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies and author of Legends & Folklore: London:

There are many tales about fairies, but how do we deal with them? Over the years, customs and behaviours have been developed so that your encounter with a fairy can be a positive one. Pollyanna gives us her top eight tips on how to keep on a fairy’s good side.

15 March 2018 – Seelie or Unseelie? – Andy Paciorek, author and illustrator of Strange Lands: A Field Guide to the Celtic Otherworld Black Earth: A Field Guide to the Slavic Otherworld:

The fairy doors within the Between Worlds exhibition were home to numerous types of fairies to discover: Banshees, Selkies, Hobglobins, and Brownies. However, these are not the only fairies in the North. In this post, author Andy Paciorek discusses – both through stories and his own illustrations – the darkest fairy folk of Northern Britain.

8 March 2018 – The Fairy Folk of Northumberland – Laura Coulson, fairy and folklore blogger:

Folklore and landscape are very much intertwined. There are numerous locations that bear witness to the acts of fairies, some even being the home of fairy folk. Like many places in Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall, Northumberland also has its own magical locations. If you fancy taking a trip, then why not take your pick from one of the suggestions fairy folklore enthusiast Laura Coulson has to offer.


1 March 2018 – Collecting Folklore – David Wright, Assistant Curator at Palace Green Library:


22 February 2018 – The Real True Thomas – Poppy Holden, professional singer and singing tutor:

Thomas of Erceldoune, Thomas the Rhymer, True Thomas: this man of many names, famous for his journey to the land of the fairies and the gifts he gained there, is a prominent figure in the Between Worlds exhibition. In this post, singer Poppy Holden explores the first written account of Thomas and how the seemingly inexplicable events of the story have a curious link to the real world geography of Melrose.


15 February 2018 – Neighbourly Devils – Fairies, witches and demons  – Lisa Tallis, Assistant Librarian of the Special collections Archives, Arts and Social Studies Library, Cardiff University:

Whilst Palace Green Library’s Between Worlds exhibition looks to dispel modern misconceptions of fairy folk in Northern Britain, Special Collections and Archives at Cardiff University chose to delve right into the dark side of Welsh folklore.

Here, Lisa Tallis tells us about the special collection currently on display in the Arts and Social Studies Library at Cardiff University (on show until 31 March 2018). The exhibition studies the folklore, myths, and history surrounding spiteful fairies and demons in Wales, looking at first-hand accounts, poetry, and artwork from the fifteenth century up until modern times.


8 February 2018 – Photographing Folklore – James Brown, Science Communicator and photographer:

One of the main themes of the Between Worlds exhibition is the relationship between encounters with fairies and specific geographical locations. As the exhibition developed, photographer James Brown visited the sites where the selected stories were set, capturing these locations as they appear today and looking for traces of the folklore which forms their history.


1 February 2018 – An Interview with the Brothers Gillespie:

The Brothers Gillespie showcased their musical and vocal talents during a performance at Palace Green Library in November 2017, captivating the audience with songs and stories which brought characters from the Between Worlds exhibition to life. 

This interview with The Brothers Gillespie goes deep into their roots. It allows us to get to know their story and how they created their set-list for the Between Worlds exhibition.


25 January 2018 – The Importance of Fairy Tales – Adam Bushnell, author of County Durham Folk Tales:

Fairy tales have been a key tool in the education of children and adults alike throughout history. These stories have been a way of teaching about ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. These ideas vary from society to society. In this post, author Adam Bushnell explores how the governing regime in Nazi Germany manipulated popular fairy tales to express their own principles and beliefs.


18 January 2018 – How One Writer Learned to Love Folklore and Chase Magic  – Icy Sedgwick, blogger and author of Harbingers: Dark Tales of Speculative Fiction:

Folklore is a part of our everyday lives, still influencing our actions, acting as entertainment in the 21st century, and weaving its way through the history we recount today. In this post, folklorist and author Icy Sedgwick discusses her life-long passion for folklore and how it has shaped her life.

11 January 2018 – Thomas of Erceldoune: Fairy Geography – Dr Victoria Flood, Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature at the University of Birmingham:

At Palace Green Library, we are fortunate enough to co-curate our exhibitions with academics from across Durham University, with the final output helping to share their research with a wider audience. Dr Victoria Flood, formerly of Durham University and now based at University of Birmingham, was the academic lead on our Between Worlds exhibition, helping shape the exhibition content and decide on the themes and stories it discusses. Here, Victoria explores the story of Thomas the Rhymer and the significance of its setting on the Eildon Hills.


4 January 2018 – Piskies in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic – Judith Hewitt, Museum Manager at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic:

Folklore, fairy tales, and superstition are a topic of interest to numerous museums throughout the world. Palace Green Library is hardly the first museum to touch on the topic of fairies, and we definitely won’t be the last.

Judith Hewitt shows us that the land of Cornwall and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic are terrorised by small mischievous creatures known as piskies.

If you find yourself in Cornwall, why not take a trip to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic to learn more about piskies and other creatures.


28 December 2017 – The Ancient Faeries of Northern Britain – Rosalind Kerven, folklorist and author of over 60 books, including Faeries, Elves & Goblins: the Old Stories:

Not only has our perception of fairies altered over time, but the types of fairies we might encounter change geographically too. From little old grumpy men helping in northern households to piskies wreaking havoc in Cornwall (read next week to find out more about these little mischievous creatures), fairies differ from region to region.

Based on her thorough research, Rosalind looks at the varying nature of fairies and encounters with them in Northern Britain. She explores the many tales that have been told over time.


21 December 2017 – The Fairies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Professor David Fuller, Emeritus Professor of English at Durham University:

Fairies appear as characters in several of Shakespeare’s plays, most notably the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In this post, Professor David Fuller from the Department of English Studies at Durham University explores the role these fairies fulfil and their relationship to other characters from English folklore.


14 December 2017 – ‘A gudely gift ye wad gie to me!’: Creative Process in the Fairy Tradition – Kevan Manwaring, Teacher in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth, Open University, and University of Leicester:

Each story featured in the Between Worlds exhibition tells of an encounter between a human and a fairy. The outcomes of these strange, supernatural interactions are mixed; a meeting with a fairy could bring great riches, be they material or creative, but it could also begin a journey towards misfortune or even death. In this post, author Kevan Manwaring examines the double-edged sword of these encounters, and speculates on how the fairy-folk are still influencing authors and artists today.


7 December 2017 – The Cottingley Photographs: Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden – Francesca Bihet, PhD Candidate at the University of Chichester:

The story of The Cottingley Fairies is one of the greatest fairy hoaxes of all time. The series of five photographs taken by two young girls caught the attention of a post-WWI nation. It wasn’t until 1983 when the two girls publically admitted that the photographs were fake.

Francesca Bihet explores how the Cottingley Fairies hoax  captured the imagination of a post-Victorian world devastated by war and changed the public conception of fairies forever. Read on to discover more…


30 November 2017 – Welcome! – David Wright, Assistant Curator at Palace Green Library: