Festival of Ideas

Detail of Burmese fabric map

Special Collections staff are once again taking part in the University’s Festival of Ideas, a public engagement initiative that celebrates the arts, humanities and social sciences by showcasing a diverse mix of inspirational talks, performances, films, exhibitions and other creative displays. The Festival runs from Wednesday 23 October–Sunday 3 November, and the Library’s events include:

Documenting a frontier

Come and view three spectacular hand-painted fabric maps of Burma, dating from c.1860—some of the largest maps in the library’s collection—together with more recent mapping, and an impressive and fascinating collection of late 19th century photographs from the Royal Commonwealth Society’s collection. What do these remarkable records tell us about this frontier region? Why were they created, and by whom?

Saturday 26 October: 1:30pm–2:15pm
Saturday 26 October: 2:30pm–3:15pm
Saturday 26 October: 3:30pm–4:15pm

Suitable for ages 15+: book online

Letterpress printing

Enjoy a tour of the Historical Printing Room. Discover how type is made and pages are composed, and view a demonstration of how a hand press works.

Thursday 24 October: 2:00pm–3:00pm FULLY BOOKED
Thursday 24 October: 3:30pm–4:30pm FULLY BOOKED
Monday 28 October: 2:00pm–3:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Old books crossing old borders

Developments in the digitisation of early printed books mean that today’s researchers are no longer limited by their local library’s stock, but can roam a virtually borderless digital world. At this session, view some of Cambridge University Library’s printed treasures and find out how new technologies have been used to explore their history, answering some questions, whilst raising others.

With Dr Emily Dourish, Rare Books Specialist, Rare Books Department, Cambridge University Library

Thursday 24 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Travellers’ tales

From the birth of printing in the 15th century, tales of voyages and discovery, both real and imaginary, have been a staple output of the press. This session will be an opportunity to view and learn about some of the University Library’s most interesting and unusual travellers’ tales.

With William Hale, Rare Books Specialist, Rare Books Department, Cambridge University Library.

Tuesday 29 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Typographic travels

Cambridge University Library’s early printed collections contain some of the most iconic books ever printed, books that have charted and broken geographical, historical, cultural and intellectual boundaries for nearly half a millennium. This event will showcase some of these treasures, opening portals to the past and charting Europe’s ever shifting physical, moral and intellectual borders.

With Dr Laura Nuvoloni, Research Associate, Incunabula Cataloguing Project, Cambridge University Library.

Wednesday 30 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

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