Moveable Type: a Celebration of Print

 24th January - 8th February 2019


The death of print has been greatly exaggerated. Recent years have seen a boom in the sales of physical books, and a renaissance of letterpress printing and the art of the page. Our exclusive exhibition, ‘Moveable Type’, brings together the work of historical and contemporary printers and artists to celebrate the creative and craft potential of print and its practitioners.


Ranging from single sheet prints to books and other objects, the works included in ‘Moveable Type’ explore print’s capacity to communicate, and to move its readers and viewers. They ask us to consider our relationship to the book and to print – in the making, in the reading, and in the casting away, using up, or destroying.


The themes of the exhibition included identity, labour and embodiment, craft and aesthetics. Who was a printer? What did print make possible? How did print express and inspire political engagement? The exhibition asked viewers to consider where meaning is made, and the diverse delights of viewing and thinking with fine presswork. How did print remake our relationship with the surface of the page, and the shape of letters, words and lines?


The exhibition engaged with the past of print, and the kinds of nostalgia created when ink meets paper, and type presses into the fibres of the page. And it asks why we are coming to once again value the printed word and hard physical work of reproduction. Bringing together items from the university’s historic Special Collections and the work of some of today’s most innovative printers from around and beyond the UK, the exhibition asks how print engages with its own history, and how it imagines its future in an age of media revolution.


‘Moveable Type’ accompanied the official launch of Thin Ice Press, the Department of English and Related Literature’s new on-site letterpress studio.