2016-17: Unsilencing the Library: An Exhibition at Compton Verney

old books

'Unsilencing the Library: An Exhibition at Compton Verney'


Knowledge Exchange Fellow:'
Professor Sophie Ratcliffe   |   Faculty of English   |   University of Oxford

Partner Organisation:
Compton Verney


‘Unsilencing the Library’ aims to investigate, enliven, and curate, the rare and beautiful Victorian Women’s Library at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Museum.  The library at present consists of a small and remarkable collection of imitation book spines, which surround a doorway. The spines date from the 1850s, and are remarkable because they all feature the names of women writers. The room is furnished with some matching bookcases from the same era, which now stand empty. Our team will search the past for the story behind this unusual statement bookshelf, but will also taking this story off the shelf, and into the present day. Using the room as a catalyst to examine what “the library” represents to a range of groups for whom reading may not be readily available, we will invite a range of guest curators, from authors to prison reading clubs, to help us populate the remaining shelves.

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