Let the Artists In!

‘The Shell Seekers’ by Su Blackwell, 2015. Photography by Yeshen Venema

As part of ‘Let the artists in!’, Manchester Writing School and the Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University are excited to have awarded three spaces on a programme for poets who would like to—but have never been—a poet-in-residence.

The successful applicants to this highly competitive application process will take part in a short residency at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections. This includes one day of training with Malika Booker (poet and lecturer at the Manchester Writing School) and Louise Clennell (Education & Outreach Officer at Special Collections)—as well as a fee of £500.

At the end of the residency, the poets will respond to materials from Special Collections through either writing an artistic commission or running a creative writing workshop open to the public. The successful applicants are Lydia Hounat, Roma Havers and Merrie Williams, graduate of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Please bear with us…

Essential repairs are taking place in Special Collections over the next few weeks and our new exhibition will now open on 24 June.

The Reading Room remains open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, and on the following Saturdays from 12noon-4pm: 18 May, 8 and 15 June. Visitors will need to press the Reading Room buzzer to gain entry.

The gallery will re-open on Monday 24 June.

Image: Detail from an advertisement published by William Marples and Sons, Sheffield, 1888, held in the Trade Catalogue Collection at Special Collections.

Anglo-Saxon grave goods at Special Collections

Over the last few weeks our intern, Harry, has been working with a number of 5th and 6th century Anglo-Saxon grave goods for our Object Conservator, Alison Draper. In this post, he shares some of the background to the Bones without Barriers project, and his role in checking and preparing the materials for delivery to the University of Central Lancashire Archaeology department.

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‘Anatomy of an Institution’ Archive

Manchester Met colleagues Gavin Parry and Dave Penny (both Senior Lecturers in Photography) have kindly donated archival material relating to the production and publication of their 2011 book Anatomy of an Institution: a photographic portrait of MMU. Using a Victorian studio camera, Gavin and Dave photographed a range of Manchester Met staff including technicians, cleaners, management and academic staff to create a visual portrait of the institution.

Plate from ‘Anatomy of an institution: a photographic portrait of MMU’ by Gavin Parry and David Penny, Manchester: Manchester School of Art, 2011

The archive includes prints, negatives and administrative material created during the production of the book and records the history of this creative process whilst also helping to facilitate further publication and research activity within Gavin and Dave’s ongoing series of ‘Anatomy Projects’.

Sarah van Niekerk Archive

The family of the renowned artist and wood engraver Sarah van Niekerk, who sadly died last year, have recently donated her archive to Special Collections. Sarah studied under Gertrude Hermes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. She  subsequently took on the role of teaching wood engraving at the Royal Academy Schools and later at West Dean College, Chichester, and the City and Guilds of London Art School.

Wood engravings tools and an engraved wood block from the Sarah van Niekerk archive

As an artist, Sarah provided illustrations for many books and publications, as well as completing editioned engravings, and she also exhibited nationally and internationally. She was very actively involved in the Society of Wood Engravers, serving as Chairman, and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and a Royal West of England Academician.

The donation includes many of Sarah’s engraved blocks, proof prints and editioned prints, sketch books and examples of her published work, as well as a set of her engraving tools. This extensive archive will make a very valuable addition to our collection of archives relating to the art and practice of wood engraving. We are very grateful to the van Niekerk family for this important and generous donation.