Past Exhibitions

Drawing the Modern: The work of Gordon Hodkinson and post-war architectural education in Manchester
10 September 2018 – 5 April 2019, Main Gallery
An exploration of post-war architectural education drawing on the archive of Gordon Hodkinson, a student of architecture at Manchester Municipal School of Art in the 1940s-1950s.

25 February – 26 March 2019, Spotlight Gallery
An exhibition exploring the theme of movement in the 20th century drawing on material held in Special Collections. Curated by Art History and Curating and Fine Art and Curating students at Manchester School of Art.

Looking for Love
2 – 22 February 2019, Spotlight Gallery
An exhibition showcasing some of the extensive collection of 19th and 20th century women’s magazines held in the university’s Library, curated by the Humanities, Languages & Social Science librarians.

7 January – 1 February 2019, Spotlight Gallery
Inspired by our Artists’ Books Collection, students studying Illustration with Animation were asked to consider how memories are evoked and translated into artwork, and how artworks themselves become evocative.

Real Stuff
2 December 2018 – 3 January 2019, Spotlight Gallery
Objects from Peru, Brazil, the USA, India, Bangladesh and many countries in Europe which form part of a collection of  folk artefacts belonging to artist and Manchester School of Art lecturer Lynn Setterington.

Fashion Design Technology
3 – 31 October 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Zines exploring issues around sustainability and ethics created by Fashion Design Technology students at Manchester Fashion Institute,  inspired by zines and Artists’ Books held in our collections.

Oceans Apart: Great Migrations, Grand Tours and Atlantic Liners 1870-1940
16 April – 17 August 2018, Main Gallery
Drawing on archives and advertising material, this exhibition explored the contrasting experiences of poor emigrants journeying to the Americas in Steerage and the voyages of the wealthy who travelled in luxury in First Class.

Constructing a narrative – an account of collected artefacts, the written word, existing and fictional histories
9 May – 22 June 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Curated by artists Jo Manby and Gary James Williams, this exhibition placed objects and texts from our collections alongside quatrains from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Instant Miscommunication
27 April – 8 May 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Exhibition of zines created by students from Manchester School of Art in response to our collections of zines and Artists’ Books.

‘Inquiring regard of the traveller’:
19th century TripAdvisor from travels across Europe and England
21 March – 26 April 2018, 
Spotlight Gallery
Examples of 19th century scrap albums and travel journals from the Sir Harry Page Collection focusing on the theme of travel and curated by 2nd year History students.

Collecting Malcolm Garrett: Snapshots from the world of tomorrow
11 September 2017 – 23 March 2018, Main Gallery
This exhibition of books, clothing, toys and ephemera was drawn from the personal collections of graphic designer Malcolm Garrett highlighting his compulsive interest in new worlds and futuristic design. Collecting Malcolm Garrett Exhibition Guide

The Avant-Garde
22 February – 21 March 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Exhibition curated by first year students at Manchester School of Art in response to notions of the Avant-Garde, using artifacts from our collections.

Object and Context
5 – 22 February 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Exhibition catalogues from the Library’s extensive art and design collection, alongside related objects from our Manchester School of Art Collection.

8 January – 2 February 2018, Spotlight Gallery
Handmade books on the theme of memory created by second year students studying Illustration with Animation at the Manchester School of Art.

Christmas Greetings from Special Collections
4 December 2017 – 5 January 2018, Spotlight Gallery
A selection of beautifully illustrated books and pop-up books with a Christmas theme, drawn from our Children’s Books and Book Design Collections.

Everything including the kitchen sink:highlights from the Trade Catalogue Collection
17 August – 30 November 2017, 
Spotlight Gallery
The library has a significant holding of trade catalogues from the mid nineteenth century onwards. This exhibition featured a small selection of the catalogues demonstrating their wide and varied appeal and potential use to design, cultural, architectural, economic, business and social historians.

Tricking the Impossible: word and type: Penny Rimbaud and Bracketpress
24 April – 25 August 2017, Main Gallery
This exhibition examined the close, collaborative relationship between the author Penny Rimbaud (co-founder of the highly influential punk rock collective Crass) and typesetter and book designer Christian Brett. The exhibition drew on extensive archive material held in our collections. Tricking the Impossible Exhibition Guide

Manchester Authors and Illustrators
20 March – 21 April 2017, Spotlight Gallery
Books by  well-known Manchester authors such as Anthony Burgess and Frances Hodgson-Burnett and less familiar names such as Louis Golding, author of Magnolia Street, and Kathryn Hale, who illustrated the popular Orlando the Marmalade Cat series of children’s books in the 1940s-1950s. Manchester Authors and Illustrators

Drawing the Wake: Reading Finnegans Wake through drawing
5 December 2016 – 31 March 2017, Main Gallery
Practice-based research by Clinton Cahill, Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art, using notational drawing to capture interior visual impressions in the moment of reading the novel Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

9 January – 2 February 2017, Spotlight Gallery
A display of handmade books made by students at Manchester School of Art in response to the theme of ‘Memory’. Students explored concept, content and construction of books, taking inspiration from our collection of Artists’ Books.

Rena Gardiner: Artist and Printmaker

12 September – 18 November 2016, Main Gallery
This exhibition explored the work of the artist and printmaker Rena Gardiner (1929-1999). Gardiner is best known for a series of guidebooks to historic places, buildings and the countryside, each of which she wrote, printed and illustrated herself.

The Lost Boys: remembering the boy soldiers of the First World War
13 June – 26 August 2016, Main Gallery
This exhibition showcased work produced during a community engagement project which used the commemorative qualities of ceramics to examine the issue of underage soldiers in the First World War.The Lost Boys Exhibition Guide

Illustrated Shakespeare
25 April – 15 July 2016, Spotlight Gallery
This display featured a small selection of illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays, taken from the Book Design Collection within Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections.

Projecting British Design: the Design Council Slide Collection in focus
18 April – 28 May 2016, Main Gallery
Highlights from a nationally important photographic archive, now transferred to MMU Special Collections, including examples of British design and the campaigning activities of the Design Council. Large print Exhibition Guide

Advertising Ephemera
11 – 24 April 2016, Spotlight Gallery
A selection of early printed advertising images held in MMU Special Collections.

Heritage Schools does ‘A Manchester Alphabet’
24 March – 18 April 2016, People’s History Museum, Manchester
An exhibition of drawings and poems by children from eight local primary schools who participated in our project, ‘A New Manchester Alphabet’, delivered in partnership with Historic England’s Heritage Schools Programme.

The Accidental Archive
19 February – 8 April 2016, Spotlight Gallery
Postgraduate students from Manchester School of Art curated an exhibition of archival material from MMU Special Collections alongside found objects to highlight how we are all archivists in our daily lives.

We built this city: Manchester Architects at 150
30 November 2015- 18 March 2016, Main Gallery
An exhibition of architectural drawings by key members of the Manchester Society of Architects alongside the historic Library collection, promoting the rich architectural history of Manchester. The exhibition was part of a programme celebrating 150 years of the Manchester Society of Architects.

Feast for the Eyes
28 January – 18 February 2016, Spotlight Gallery
Tableware and related items selected from the Manchester School of Art Collection by BA (Hons) Art History and Curating students at the Manchester School of Art. The students considered the relationship between food, art and culture and how this has changed over time.

11 – 27 January 2016, Spotlight Gallery
Work by BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation students at Manchester School of Art. Students were asked to consider ways in which memories are evoked and translated into artwork and how art objects themselves become evocative. The  Artists’ Book Collection held at MMU Special Collections was used as a starting point.

Cards from The Laura Seddon Collection
1 December 2015 – 9 January 2016, Spotlight Gallery
A selection of Victorian Christmas cards taken from the Laura Seddon Collection of Victorian and Edwardian Greetings cards held at MMU Special Collections.

Rustic Adornments
16 – 30 November 2015, Spotlight Gallery
A selection of books from the Artists’ Books Collection and Book Design Collection on the theme of garden design and adornment, including books by Ian Hamilton Finlay and Barbara Jones.

Are we there yet? 150 years of progress towards equality

17 August – 6 November 2015Main Gallery
This exhibition surveyed the progress made towards equality in the UK by tracking key events, figures and legislation, with Manchester as a focus. It highlighted change through archival material and children’s books selected from MMU Special Collections that reflected changing attitudes to women, disability, race and sexual orientation.
Are We There Yet Exhibition Guide

Being There
21 October – 12 November 2015, Spotlight Gallery
A series of drawings and prints developed from observations of the minute details of human life by Lisa Baraona, a student at the Manchester School of Art.

Diversity in Children’s Literature
1 – 30 September 2015Spotlight Gallery
This exhibition explored the recent increase in the number of diverse characters represented in children’s books using material from our Children’s Books Collection. The exhibition was curated by Cat Tucker, MMU Intern for Equality and Diversity.