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The University of Kent in students’ drawings


Friday 8 July – Friday 2 September 2016

In this exhibition, students from our Canterbury and Medway campuses reflect on their university life in images and words.

Curator Irina Lapushinskaya, a student in the School of Arts, explains the ideas behind the exhibition:

The University of Kent is a second home for many of us. Here, students not only earn a degree but also find new friends, make professional connections and make key decisions in life. The University will always be in our  hearts, no matter how much time we spend here – two semesters or several years.

Medway is sometimes considered the “arty” campus, but this exhibition shows that there are talented creative students in Canterbury as well. They don’t even have to be art students: they may study science or law, but they still can create wonderful drawings.

Two of the artists presenting their work are Canterbury-based students, and the other two are School of Music and Fine Art (Medway) graduates. Thus, it is a mix of works by professional artists and students for whom art is a hobby.

To complete the students’ narrative, they have written some thoughts on how the University affected them as individuals (rather than professionals). Images and text work together, each helping to explain the other.

The words and drawings hanging next to each other help viewers to understand the art and the artists’ life at university. They may also lead viewers to reflect on their own university experiences.

The University of Kent in Students’ Drawings was on display in the Templeman Gallery from Friday 8 July – Friday 2 September.

Artwork by Emma Griffiths

Women on Stage and in Society 1850 – 1915


Women on Stage and in Society 1850 – 1915
6 – 25 April 2016

This regular module for second year Drama students is taught in collaboration with Special Collections. It emphasises the use of archives in researching 19th and early 20th century theatre.

This year the students chose to focus on the roles of women in the theatre of the time. Individually, they chose a subtopic which interested them to research in more depth, using primary sources from the University’s extensive Theatre and Performance Archives, as well as digitised sources from other archives.

Here’s what the students say about their exhibition: 

About the exhibition

This exhibition focuses on the Victorian and Edwardian period of theatrical innovation and change, with specific reference to women. With roles varying from Pantomime figures to Actor managers, prominent actresses, playwrights and suffrage campaigners, their impact on the acting world and the world at large can easily be seen in this timeframe. A number of students have joined forces to put together this exhibition, with the sections it includes being described in brief paragraphs below.

Actresses in Victorian Media

A section devoted to the depiction and treatment of women of theatre in the media of the Victorian era. This section provides an in depth look at the life, trials and tribulations of Mrs Patrick Campbell at the hands of the media during her career across the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Life of a Victorian Actress

This section focuses on the life of the Victorian actress outside the stage, their social lives and private lives away from the limelight. Furthermore this section discusses the treatment of women and actresses during divorce.

Pantomime Actresses

A look at the roles of actresses in pantomime during the Victorian era and the transition from traditional pantomime to Gaiety Theatre. This section will explore these themes with reference to various plays and the lives of actresses Dorothy Craske and Ellen Farren.


This section looks at the depiction of women in the ever popular theatrical form of pantomime by examining the cross-gender roles of the dame and principal boy, with specific focus on the Victorian performers Dan Leno and Vesta Tilley and the play “Dick Whittington”.

Victorian Melodrama

A section discussing the portrayal of women in one of the most prominent and popular theatre forms of the Victorian era. Looking closely at the connotations of the costumes worn on stage alongside analysis of the ways female characters were used to highlight the social and political issues of the time.

Female Theatre Managers and Playwrights

In a male dominated society and profession, this section aims to explore the roles of women in the creative side of the theatre during the Victorian era. With specific reference to the lives and careers of Marie Bancroft (/Wilson) and Madge Kendall.

Female Actor Managers

The emergence of actor managers (now known as directors) in the late 19th century was no small event in the history of theatre. However a time of such gender inequality brought with it difficulties and challenges for women of the industry, which will be explored in this section.

Women as Professionals

This section looks at the reactions of the Victorian theatre towards women being a part of the evolving theatre industry and the stigma affixed to women of theatre with specific reference to the lives of the early Victorian actresses Mrs Anna Cora Mowatt and Miss Frankie Ann Kemble.

The Battle for Women’s Suffrage

This section deals with the views of women’s suffrage from both the proponents and those who were not in favour of the enfranchisement of women, using theatrical text and primary sources from the time and comparing the views they demonstrate.

The Politics of Victorian Theatre

This section of the exhibition will examine the back and forth between theatre practitioners and the ever convoluted parliamentary politics of the Victorian era, looking at theatrical responses to political movements and likewise the reactions of those within the political system to Suffrage Theatre. With detailed reference to the suffrage play “Votes for Women”.

Read more about the items on display

Women on Stage and in Society 1850 – 1915 was in the Gallery on Floor 1 West in the Templeman Library from 6 – 25 April 2016.

There is an alternative! Critical cartoons and comics

2 May – 1 July 2016
Templeman Gallery, Floor 1 West


See the reactions: #TIAAKent on Twitter and Instagram

This exhibition showcased a selection of original material, reprints, published material and paraphernalia by American and British comic artists, representing two prolific traditions in alternative comics.

The artists whose work was displayed include:

  • Andy Singer
  • Cristy C. Road
  • Darrin Bell
  • Gord Hill
  • Hunt Emerson
  • J.J. McCollough
  • James van Otto
  • Jen Sorensen
  • Kate Evans
  • Khalid Albaih
  • Lauren Weinstein
  • Matt Bors
  • Mike Goodwin and Dan E. Burr
  • Rachael House
  • Robert Armstrong
  • Safdar Ahmed
  • Spike Trotman
  • Stephanie McMillan
  • Suzy Varty
  • Ted Rall
  • Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)
  • Vegan Sidekick

The exhibition also included materials from the British Cartoon Archive and the Les Coleman Archive.

The works displayed are commonly labelled as alternative in their respective traditions and understood as critically positioning themselves against a given mainstream (whether in comics, politics or culture).

Through the displayed material, and drawing on the position of comics as an underground or marginal form, the exhibition investigated the issue of what it means to be ‘alternative’ and ‘critical’ in contemporary society.

there is an alternative

Comedy on Stage and Page: Satirical Cartoons and Stand-Up Comedy


14 January — 30 March 2016

This exhibition showcases some of the fascinating material in two of the Templeman Library’s Special Collections: the British Cartoon Archive and the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

Not only are the items on display valuable sources of social, political and art history, but they also still entertain us today.

The cartoons range from early 20th century commentary on the women’s suffrage movement to lewd seaside postcards to recent newspaper cartoons from artists such as Steve Bell and Carl Giles. The stand-up comedy display features posters from events dating from the 1970s to the present day, comedians’ personal notes, tour memorabilia and more.

As well as printed material, there are also more unusual items on display including toys, knitwear and confetti.

Find out more

Five Fascinating Artefacts: personal reflections on some of the items in the exhibition