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.

Portraits & Philosophy: a Conversation

29th March to 11th May 2018 
Curators: Hans Maes and Aurélie Debaene

Portraits & Philosophy: a Conversation invites you to participate in this interaction between image and idea.

Ten of the world’s leading philosophers of art are portrayed here by renowned photographer Steve Pyke and visual artist (and Kent graduate) Claire Anscomb. These striking black-and-white portraits are accompanied by short excerpts from the book Conversations on Art and Aesthetics in which Kent lecturer Dr. Hans Maes discusses key issues in art and aesthetics with these individual philosophers.

Become acquainted with the thoughts and faces of contemporary aesthetics and let yourself be challenged by this up close and personal view of philosophy.