A very happy new year; on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives, I’d like to wish you a successful, peaceful and happy 2014. We finished 2013 in celebratory style, with two book launches for the ever talented students of Simon Smith’s The Book Project module, and a festive get together for our volunteers. Now back at the Templeman Library, we’re getting back into the flow of things, with the reading room back to our normal opening hours, ahead of the start of term on 20 January.
And what a term it’s likely to be! To start with, we have our first exhibition of 2014 opening in just a week’s time, on Friday 17 January. ‘The Bullet is Stronger than the Ballot‘ will explore cartoons of political assassinations, in collaboration with The Beaney, who are hosting Manet’s ‘The Execution of Maximilian’, as part of a season looking at political assassination, as far back as Thomas Becket. Drawing on a wide range of cartoonists’ work since the Second World War, ‘The Bullet is Stronger than the Ballot’ will be on display in the Templeman Gallery until the end of February. Dr. Nick Hiley, Head of Special Collections and Curator of the British Cartoon Archive, will be giving a talk about British cartoonists and political assasinations at the Beaney on Thursday 20 February.
We’ll also be heavily involved in teaching this term, particularly with the Drama department, whose ‘Victorian and Edwardian Theatre‘ module has become a huge success. This involves intensive teaching in Special Collections, encouraging students to analyse the rare and unique performance materials we hold, and culminates in an exhibition curated by the students in the Templeman Gallery in April. I’m sure I will be blogging much more about that as we get closer to the time.
With the Templeman Development Project now well under way (foundations and ground floor level now visible), we’re starting to see our planned changes coming into effect. The first impact is going to be the closure of the Templeman Gallery space in the summer of 2014. This means that our final major exhibition, for the time being, will also be our first public presentation of the Kingsley Wood papers, in May 2014. The exhibition will open with the launch of historian Hugh Gault’s new book Kingsley Wood: Making the Heavens Hum. We can’t wait to see the results of all Hugh’s hard work, and many hours spent poring over cuttings in the reading room!
In addition, we still have two talks to come in this year’s Special Collections & Cathedral Library Lecture series – in February, Diane Heath will be telling us all about the monsters and beasts in medieval books, followed by Olly Double guiding us through the giggles of popular comedy, from music hall to standup in June.
Of course, we’ll also be doing all of our normal work cataloguing, processing and caring for collections, helping you with enquiries and research and in particular preparing for the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations next year. And that’s not to mention the start of the 4 year World War One centenary commemorations, or the exciting prospect of watching the Templeman extension – and the new Special Collections basement, offices and research and teaching space – take shape.
All in all, I think it’s going to be a very exciting and busy year!