28 April 2023 marks 100 years since the birth of Warren Lamb – dancer, movement theorist and management consultant. To mark the occasion, we have released the first set of catalogued records from the Archive to our online catalogue, making part of this fantastic collection accessible to the public for the first time. The Archives & Special Collections team have also put together a new display of highlights from the Warren Lamb Archive, celebrating Lamb’s life and career.
Warren Lamb was best known for his contributions to the field of movement observation and analysis: in particular, for his work in developing Movement Pattern Analysis (earlier known as Action Profiling) and for his pioneering application of the technique to the worlds of industry and business.
Lamb started his career in movement analysis as a student of Rudolf Laban and Lisa Ullmann at the Art of Movement Studio, Manchester, enrolling there in 1947. After an initial period working for Paton Lawrence and Company under F C Lawrence, where he developed assessment techniques and selection methods for what was then known as Laban-Lawrence Industrial Rhythm (based on Laban’s Effort theory), in 1952 Lamb founded his own consultancy practice, Warren Lamb Associates. Lamb found great success with his consultancy work, advising companies, organisations and even governments across the world, including such big-name clients as Trebor, Saatchi & Saatchi, American Express and Hewlett-Packard. In addition to his consultancy work, in his early career Warren Lamb was also a professional dancer, performing with the historically significant British Dance Theatre in the early 1950s.
Warren Lamb, who passed away in January 2014 aged 90, retained close links with the University of Surrey through the National Resource Centre for Dance, and in 2004 we were privileged to be gifted his personal archive, so that it might support future research into areas impacted by movement studies, including dance, therapeutic practices, management, and psychology. The archive, which has been supplemented through further donations by Lamb himself and from other movement professionals closely connected with his work, is very extensive, and has proved challenging to process and catalogue. Nonetheless, we are very pleased this week to release the first catalogued sections from the Warren Lamb Archive, covering the records of Lamb’s time with British Dance Theatre, and a wide-ranging series related to his Education, Research and Publicity activities. Click here to browse the full list of the items available.
All items currently listed in the catalogue are available for public consultation in our research room – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment if you would like to visit. Although the remainder of Lamb’s archive is not accessible while we continue our work, and some files will inevitably need to remain closed for the foreseeable future in line with data protection legislation, we will keep working on this large and fascinating collection, and will release further series of material over the coming months and years.
To mark the centenary of his birth, the Archives team have also created a new display that features some of the highlights from the newly-released catalogue and celebrates the richness of Warren Lamb’s life and work. Included in the display are:
- Posters for British Dance Theatre performances featuring Lamb;
- Material relating to Lamb’s publications Posture and Gesture (1972) and Body Code – The Meaning in Movement (1979, co-authored with Elizabeth Watson);
- Typed and draft manuscripts outlining Lamb’s theories of movement;
- Publicity material for Warren Lamb Associates.
The display features prominently outside our Archives Research Room on the Ground Level of the University Library, and will remain on show until the summer. If you are an external visitor to the University who would like to view the display, then please contact the archives team at email@example.com to arrange a visit.