The purpose of the Morris Census project is to collect information from all morris sides in the UK and around the world, to provide a snapshot of the state of the morris. The Census is an online survey sent out to all teams of morris dancers in the world to find out how many morris dancers are out there, who they are and what they get up to. The first Morris Census was sent out in June 2014 and nearly 600 teams responded to the survey, meaning it gives a very detailed picture of the morris community.
The Morris Census was supported by the Morris Federation, Morris Ring and Open Morris through the Joint Morris Organisation and all sides were encouraged to take part.
You can view the full survey that was used in 2014 here.
The motivation for conducting a large-scale survey of morris dancers was to fill the lack of reliable information about the state of the modern morris. Morris dancing in the 21st century is varied and complex, yet no recent attempt has been made to systematically describe it.
Descriptions of the state of morris dancing rely heavily on personal anecdote, with often little acknowledgement of the influence that personal bias can have both on what one has seen, and what one inferred from it. The expansion of morris over the last 50 years has also meant that it is even more difficult to have a representative view from personal anecdote: in the words of Roy Dommett “no one person has seen more than a small fraction of the morris, especially in recent years”.
Personal experience has an important role in discussion of morris dancing, but the motivation behind the Morris Census is to bring systematic measurement to those things that can be measured well to provide a credible point of reference.