Exploring Philanthropy

“Exploring Philanthropy” is on display in the Templeman Gallery – from May to October 2022. 

The exhibition introduces themes in the history and practice of philanthropy and shows original archive material from across our collections in Special Collections and Archives – including publications by Charles Dickens, illustrations from Punch magazine, and a selection of items from the UK Philanthropy Archive collections.

Black and white cartoon showing poorly dressed people in an art gallery looking at pictures of wealthy and richly dressed people

The first ‘cartoon’ in Punch Magazine, dated 1843, titled Substance and Shadow – or “The poor ask for bread, and the philanthropy of the State accords – an exhibition”

The History of Philanthropy; Satire and Philanthropy

The sections on the ‘History of Philanthropy; and ‘Satire and Philanthropy’ take you on a whistle stop tour of philanthropy from earliest examples of giving into current perceptions of philanthropy and philanthropists.

Featured in this section is an edition of Punch; or, The London Charivari, from 1843, which established the term ‘cartoon’ as we now know it – referring to a humorous illustration or pictorial satire. The cartoon, by John Leech, titled “Cartoon – No 1 – Substance and Shadow” depicts the picture gallery in Westminster Hall and shows poor and ragged children and adults visiting the gallery. The people do not look like they are enjoying the experience of looking upon pictures of ‘high society’ with lives and experiences so different from their own. Leech is satirising the insensitivity of government spending on an exhibition when poverty was such a huge problem.

Highlights from the UK Philanthropy Archive collections

In our wall cases we show off records, documents and images from the UK Philanthropy Archive collections of Dame Stephanie Shirley, Amanda Sebestyen and the Marc Fitch Fund.

Dame Stephanie Shirley started her charitable foundation – the Shirley Foundation  – in the late 1990s with the intention of giving away most of her money made through her software company – Freelance Programmers. The exhibition includes items that reflect her life, career and philanthropy including items from her early career in programming; cards representing the number of speeches she has given about women, management, IT and autism; documents showing the type of projects she funded through her Foundation; and awards presented to her throughout her life for contributions to philanthropy and IT.

Commemorative envelope showing stamps relating to the Kindertransport

This commemorative cover (collectable envelope) from the archive collection of Dame Stephanie Shirley was released in 1999 on the 60th Anniversary of the Kindertransport. It was designed by Stanley Kacher and has a special Liverpool Street postmark. Dame Stephanie arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied refugee on the Kindertransport in 1939. A key motivation for her work ethic and philanthropy was to give back to the country that had saved her life. “I decided to make mine a life worth saving… and then I just got on with it.” (Dame Stephanie Shirley).

Amanda Sebestyen is a writer, editor and campaigner with a focus on human rights, women rights, refugees, and asylum seekers. Her archive papers reflect her family settlement, set up by her father in 1968; and archives relating to Amanda’s participation as a founding member of the Network for Social Change. The exhibition includes some documents relating to the early days of the Network for Social Change, Amanda’s focus on ethical investment, and her support for the Edmund Rice Centre, and projects including ANTaR – Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation – and their Sea of Hands project. ANTaR is a national advocacy organisation dedicated to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

selection of documents and postcards of the Sea of Hands project

The Sea of Hands project was designed to engage Australians with rights and reconciliation issues. Originally launched in 1997, thousands of hands in the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were installed in front of Parliament House in what was then the largest public art installation in Australia. Sea of Hands has become an annual campaign and the installation travels the country raising awareness about identities, cultures and history.

The Marc Fitch Fund was created in 1956 by Marc Felix Brudenell Fitch (1908-1994), a historian and philanthropist. Marc used his wealth from the family firm – the food manufacturer Fitch & Son, to fund scholarly and archaeological causes and publishing in the areas of local history, genealogy and heraldry. The exhibition shows a selection of archive papers of the Marc Fitch Fund including an example of the minutes of Trustee Meetings including the planned objects of the Fund, photographs of the first Trustees, and the beautiful Coat of Arms awarded to the fund in 1979.

 

Rolled document - a coat of arms - in a red box with gold wax seals and blur ribbons

The Marc Fitch Fund was awarded its own Coat of Arms by the College of Arms in 1979, in recognition of Marc Fitch’s generosity to scholarship in heraldry, genealogy and other disciplines.   

How does philanthropy work? 

The exhibition explores how philanthropy works and operates – with panels describing different types of philanthropic methods such as private giving, networks and giving circles, and trusts and foundations. The panels explore how some trusts are funded with endowments, and others chose to spend out their assets in a set time period. The exhibition also explores how the philanthropic sector is looking at the power dynamics associated with holding and giving money and how philanthropists are approaching these issues.

The History of Fundraising, and Fundraising in Theatre and Comedy 

At the end of the exhibition we look at the another side of the philanthropy triangle – those who make the ask for funding, describing early charity appeals, and how fundraisers have harnessed the power of celebrity. We showcase some examples from our theatre and comedy archive collections that illustrate where performance has been used as a vehicle for fundraising over many centuries – from playbills advertising benefit performances in the 18th century to stand-up comedy fundraising events in the last few decades.

Theatre playbill with text describing a performance of A Cure for the Heart Ache in 1823 at the Theatre Royal in Ulverston

This playbill advertises a performance of ‘A Cure for the Heart Ache’ in 1823 at the Theatre Royal in Ulverston. The performance was for the benefit of George Bailey’s ‘unhappy situation’, with the profits going to his wife and seven children.
Reference: POS/ULV R/0594874

 

 

Giles Family at 75

Summer 2020 (online exhibition)
Curated by Joanna Baines, Tom Kennett and Clair Waller (Special Collections & Archives)

On Wednesday 5 August 1945 the Giles Family appeared for the first time in the pages of the Sunday Express. The creation of cartoonist Carl Giles (1916-1995), over the course of the next 45 years they would appear in over two thousand cartoons in the Sunday Express and Daily Express. For many people his cartoons capture British life in microcosm, and the Family became a national institution. Giles became the most famous and well-beloved cartoonist of his generation: in 2000 he was voted Britain’s Favourite Cartoonist of the 20th century. This exhibition celebrates the enduring legacy of  the Giles Family by drawing on the riches of the Carl Giles Archive, which has been part of the British Cartoon Archive since 2005.

A physical exhibition was planned for display in the Gallery in Summer 2020 but unfortunately this has not been possible as a result of Covid-19. In lieu of a physical display SC&A staff have created a series of blogs and social media posts as a virtual equivalent, which will be posted to the SC&A blog – we hope you enjoy!

Print Works: Forgotten Industry on the Isle of Thanet

Spring 2020 (online exhibition)
Curated by Appletye 

Print Works is a year-long project from Appletye, an arts and heritage organisation. The project explores the history of the print industry on the Isle of Thanet, taking inspiration from two former companies and the heritage of the sites they occupied at Thanet Press, Union Crescent, Margate and Martell Press, Northdown Road, Cliftonville. At the heart of the project are archives from the two Margate firms, recording the stories of the people who worked there and the work they did.

Special Collections & Archives has been working with Appletye – an artists’-led organisation based in Margate – to support their mission to record the Isle of Thanet’s rich printing heritage. A physical exhibition was planned for display in the Gallery in Spring 2020 but this has unfortunately been postponed as a result of COVID-19. In lieu of a physical display Appletye have created a series of blogs as a virtual equivalent, which will be posted to the SC&A blog – we hope you enjoy!

Politics in Wonderland: Sir John Tenniel at 200

10 February – 20 March 2020
Curated by Jo Baines and Tom Kennett (Special Collections & Archives)

John Tenniel's original illustration of Alice being attacked by the pack of cards (left) alongside a political cartoon by Nicholas Garland depicting Margaret Thatcher as Alice being assailed by 'world markets' (right).

This exhibition marks the bicentenary of the birth of illustrator and political cartoonist Sir John Tenniel (1820–1914) on 28 February.

For almost 40 years, Tenniel was the chief political cartoonist for Punch magazine, a Victorian publishing institution, producing classics of the genre such as ‘Dropping the Pilot’. Today, however, Tenniel is chiefly remembered for the illustrations he provided for Lewis Carroll’s ever popular and strange tales Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871).

This exhibition celebrates Tenniel’s contribution to political cartooning in his own work for Punch and in the enduring influence his Alice illustrations have had on subsequent generations of political cartoonists. The exhibition features original cartoon artworks, cuttings and publications from the British Cartoon Archive by cartoonists including Nicholas Garland, Vicky, Strube and E H Shepard.

The exhibition accompanies a production of Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Dream Play, to be performed on Friday 21 February by the University Music department.

First performed in 1886, written by Henry Savile Clarke and with music by Walter Slaughter, the ‘dream play’ was overseen and authorised by Carroll himself, and was the only adaptation to be made with his approval. The production features some of Tenniel’s illustrations projected onto the stage, evoking the original atmosphere of the novel brought so vividly to life by Tenniel’s quirky, characterful images. Tickets are available on the Gulbenkian website.

Radical Roots & Dangerous Ideas: 50 Years of Gulbenkian

11 November 2019 – 31 January 2020
Curated by ART31

Previously exhibited in the Colyer-Fergusson building at the University of Kent and a satellite exhibition at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge in Canterbury, this exhibition celebrates 50 years of Gulbenkian and its place in the University and wider community. It draws on the University and Gulbenkian Archives to explore the radical beginnings of Gulbenkian.

Diaries of the Here and Now

11 November 2019 – 31 January 2020
Curated by Dawn Cole

On November 11th 1918, the guns fell silent and hostilities ceased on the Western Front with the signing of the armistice. One hundred years later we asked people to record their day on November 11th 2018. This exhibition features a selection of those diaries created for The Diaries of the Here and Now project, which are now part of the University of Kent’s Special Collections & Archives.

The diaries, written by people spanning several generations, and feature drawings, paintings, collage, poetry and even film, and take numerous themes, including:

  • general accounts of the day
  • political
  • remembrance and remembering specific people
  • memorialisation
  • reflections on war and conflict
  • health
  • Brexit
  • fears for the future
  • personal stories
  • journeys

The Diaries of the Here and Now was developed by artist Dawn Cole (www.dawncole.co.uk).

Keep Smiling Through: Humour and the Second World War

9 September – 25 October 2019

KEM: “C’est encore ce sacre Churchill…” published in Le Petit Parisien, May 1940

Keep Smiling Through: British Humour and the Second World War explores the use of humour in cartoons, letters, books, ephemera and artefacts from the First and Second World Wars. This exhibition has been curated to support the symposium of the same title held here at the University of Kent on 12–13 September 2019 with the assistance of Special Collections & Archives’ inaugural exhibition interns.

Using the British Cartoon Archive’s extensive collection of cartoons, ephemera, letters, and artefacts, this exhibition explores how humour was used throughout the Second World War to discuss politics, military campaigns, and improve morale both on the front line and at home. It also explores how the British press portrayed other theatres of war. The exhibition offers an insight into the reactions of the British public and traces responses to the present day as contemporary cartoonists echo the iconography pioneered by 20th century artists. The archives of Carl Giles and KEM, held here at Kent, are showcased extensively – including films made by Giles for the Ministry of Information during the War.

Entry is (as always) free and the gallery is open during the Templeman Library’s opening hours. The exhibition runs until 25 October.

Alternative Comedy Now

29 April – 28 June 2019

Alternative Comedy Now: The Exhibition celebrates the 40th birthday of alternative comedy with an exhibition of material from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive (BSUCA).

The early summer of 1979 saw the opening of the Comedy Store in Soho and the formation of the group Alternative Cabaret, kick-starting the alternative comedy movement that would revolutionize the style, subject matter and politics of British stand-up.

Using BSUCA’s unrivalled collection of material, including publicity materials, photographs, press coverage, scripts, LPs, and business records, this exhibition tells the story of how alternative comedy grew into a rich and vibrant scene throughout the 1980s, and sowed the seeds for today’s comedy circuit. Presented by Special Collections & Archives and the School of Arts.

Kent, its Regiments, and the First World War

29 October 2018 – 4 January 2019 (extended to 8 February 2019)
Curators: Mark Connelly, Elspeth Millar, Rachel Dickinson

Men of the 1st Battalion, The Buffs at Bois-Grenier, winter 1914

‘Kent, its Regiments, and the First World War’ showcases the Queen’s Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment Collection, which is cared for as part of Special Collections & Archives at the University of Kent. The exhibition uses the collection to look at Kent’s two historic military regiments: the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment). The exhibition will look at the histories of the regiments, their close links to Kent and the ‘home front’, and their roles during the First World War.

Material is drawn from the Queen’s Own Buffs, the Royal Kent Regiment Collection (which was deposited with the University of Kent by the Regimental Association of the Queen’s Own Buffs, Royal Kent Regiment), other collections cared for in the Templeman Library, and with loaned material from local institutions.

‘Out and Proud’

17 May – 6 July 2018 
Curators: Christin Hoene and Jan Moriarty, and the Special Collections & Archives teamThe University of Kent is proud of its diverse student, staff and alumni community. ‘Out and Proud’ aims to showcase some of our LGBT+ champions, role models, and allies to highlight the amazing people on our campuses who share their stories to inspire others. It will also feature books from the Templeman Library about and by LGBT+ role models throughout the ages.

Role models challenge stereotypes, provide guidance and advice, and they are examples to all about being proud of who you are and overcoming prejudice and discrimination.

This exhibition is designed to share experiences, good and bad, and to be a reminder that we are all citizens of this beautifully diverse world.