Special Collections looks after a range of rare books and journals as well as our archive and object holdings. Did you know we have a small number of early printed books, dating from 1474 to 1799?
The subject matter of the books bears no relevance to anything taught at DMU or its predecessors – subjects like theology and classics were not our specialisms! But we did have a vibrant Printing Trades course which included subjects like bookbinding and printing. We believe that the books were purchased to be studied as objects rather than for their content. Some of them are in poor condition, which allows us to have an insight into their method of production and construction.
Photography helps us to see the world as it really is. Capturing images on film or digital cameras is an opportunity to record unique moments in history. Culture, politics, society and human nature are viewed through the lens. This is highlighted by a new display in the Learning Zone of the Kimberlin Library. Curated by Ann Collick in the Library’s Displays Team, the Photography display is the latest in a series which celebrates diversity in the arts. Previous themes include Bollywood, Harlem Renaissance, BAME fashion designers and BAME figures in history. All the books on display can be browsed and borrowed, so why not come and have a look at this inspiring collection?
One of the featured photographers is Carrie Mae Weems, whose work focuses on portraits and the family lives of African Americans. Passionate and political, Weems had a baby when she was sixteen – the year after the assassination of Martin Luther King – and shortly afterwards packed a cardboard suitcase to find work in New York. She received a camera as a birthday present at the age of twenty, started taking pictures straight away, went to college to study photography and design, and has never looked back. She’s won many awards for her work. Her projects include ‘Family Pictures and Stories’ (1981-2), ‘Dreaming in Cuba’ (2001), ‘African Jewels’ (2009) and ‘The Obama Project’ (2012).
Other contemporary photographers include Jamel Shabazz, from Brooklyn in New York, who documents African American lives, and Zanele Muholi, a South African artist who focuses on black LGBTQIA+ and gender-non-conforming people. Artists from the past are represented too, such as J A Green, believed to be Nigeria’s first professional photographer, and Howard Bingham who captured iconic shots of Muhammad Ali.
These inspirational photographers have fought adversity and pushed boundaries to achieve their dreams.
Did you know that the second floor of the Kimberlin Library has a rolling display of new books? Art, Design and Humanities books often have stunning jacket designs which are just too good to be hidden away on the main shelves! The lost paintings of Frida Kahlo, contemporary Vietnamese art, science for potters and the story of plywood are just some of the topics you can see on display right now. There’s also a book with one of the most intriguing titles ever – The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
All of the books on display can be borrowed. Feel free to browse them, as they include some fantastic illustrations and designs. The display will change as we buy more lovely books to inspire and inform your studies.
Yo what’s up? Check out the hip hop displays by MC Ann of the Kimberlin crew. Hip hop is not just music, it’s a way of life, straight up. The bling, the threads, the beats. Breakdancing, street art, urban style. Hip hop became popular in the 80s and early 90s but its roots go back a long way. The music grew out of genres such as reggae, jazz and gospel, fusing with New York’s black youth culture. Unique fashion styles and graffiti art combined with rap and turntables to create the hip hop phenomenon. Have a look at these books and posters, which channel the freshness, power and creativity of hip hop. The displays are in the cabinets between the first and second floors of the Library.