Past Exhibitions

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
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.