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Lightboxes & Lettering: The book!

It’s nearly here: on the press this week.

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The exhibition at Nunnery Gallery in Bow opens on 16 January, and the book is a standalone but companion piece to the show.

This is the press release:

Lightboxes and Lettering: the importance of east London’s print industry celebrated in new National Lottery-funded exhibition

Lightboxes and Lettering | 17 January – 29 March 2020 at the Nunnery Gallery E3
Private view: Thursday 16 January, 6-9pm

A new exhibition at Bow’s Nunnery Gallery is set to celebrate the fascinating and important history of the print industry in east London.

Lightboxes and Lettering by Rendezvous Projects is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the show tells the story of the ever-changing face of the print industry throughout the 20th century. The show focuses on printers in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest, giving the public a chance to view historic photographs and printed items, many of which have never been seen before.

The exhibition collects images of iconic east London print shop fronts, factory floors and machinery alongside print workers’ memories, which are told through a new collection of oral histories. These oral histories were collected by the Rendezvous Projects team alongside a number of enthusiastic local volunteers, who also received free training in interviewing techniques and the collection of oral histories.

Lightboxes and Lettering utilises archive material and newly discovered items from print companies, co-ops and radical presses across east London. The absorbing exhibition documents changes in the print industry throughout the 20th century, exploring the important role east London played and the influences of new and digital technologies.

Forgotten, often intricate techniques are celebrated, with beautiful examples of print on display, which include booklets, catalogues, packaging and colourful posters that advertise anything from political events to music nights across east London. There is also a selection of prints and publications made by local participants in workshops that Rendezvous Projects ran to demonstrate the techniques and equipment of the past.

“The print trade is such a rich part of east London’s industrial history,” says Lucy Harrison, Project Leader. “The technology of print, design aspects and the finished products all provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of the print industry in the area, from closed-shop union print-works to radical presses and commercial, artists’ or community print shops.”

Presented in the heart of the East End, the show will run at Bow Arts’ Nunnery Gallery, opposite Bow Church from 17 January to 29 March 2020. The organisers hope that this will attract many former-print workers and art lovers to view the work and reflect on this slice of our capital’s history. The exhibition is aimed at anyone with an enthusiasm for print, design or local history, although it should also attract those with interest in photography, trades union history or the changing face of east London.

“It is important that the history of the print industry in east London is recognised and recorded,” says Peter Wynn, a former-owner of the Malvern Press, which operated in Dalston from 1953 to 2003. “The advent of the printed word in England in the 15th century saw London become a major centre of print. Due to its proximity to The City, its commercial heart, East London provided a base for printers to supply products and services that supported its rapid growth and, to some extent, still does.”

ENDS ——

For further information, images and interviews please contact:
Lucy Harrison, Rendezvous Projects, 07971 963668 | info@rendezvousprojects.org.uk
Georgina Walters, Marketing and Communications Assistant, 020 8709 5290 | media@bowarts.com
Sophie Hill, Director of Arts + Events, 020 8980 7774 ext.312 | shill@bowarts.com

Notes to editors

Exhibition: Lightboxes + Lettering
Dates: 17 January – 29 March 2020
Venue: Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts, 183 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ. Tues-Sun, 10am to 5pm, free entry

About Rendezvous Projects
Rendezvous Projects is a Community Interest Company based in Waltham Forest, developing creative ways of exploring social history and providing opportunities for communities to take part in the work. The organisation is run by Iain Aitch, Rosa Ainley, Katherine Green, Lucy Harrison and Michael Needham.

Lightboxes and Lettering has been made possible with a £58,200 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focuses on the pre-digital era of printing in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and the experiences of people involved in the industry.

http://www.lightboxeslettering.com/
www.rendezvousprojects.org.uk

About Bow Arts
Bow Arts is an arts education charity that provides affordable creative workspaces for over 500 emerging artists. Alongside this, Bow Arts manages one of the country’s most exciting education programmes, which takes world-class artists into 90 schools to improve the lives and learning of children and young people. Bow Arts runs the Nunnery Gallery, a public gallery that supports a diverse range of high quality exhibitions and events as well as the delivery of a public arts programme. Established in 1995, Bow Arts holds an important place in east London which is fast becoming known as London’s Artist Quarter.

www.bowarts.org | www.twitter.com/BowArts | www.facebook.com/bowarts

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. http://www.heritagefund.org.uk.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/

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Lightboxes + Lettering: East London print industry history

Opens January 2020, Nunnery Gallery, London E3

A new exhibition explores and archives the history of the printing industry in east London.

Lightboxes + Lettering, an exhibition by Rendezvous Projects, offers a wealth of material – printed matter, photographs, objects and oral history – to explore the 20th century history of the print industry in the east London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest in the 20th century.

Using archive and newly found material from large and small companies, co-ops and radical presses, the exhibition examines and documents changes in the industry and its locations, and the influences of new and digital technologies. Rendezvous Press worked with a team of volunteers to collect material and produce responses to the project’s findings.

Lucy Harrison, Project Leader, “The print trade is such a rich part of east London’s industrial history. The technology of print, design aspects and the finished products all provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of the print industry in the area, from closed-shop union print-works to radical presses and commercial, artists’ or community print shops.”

http://www.lightboxeslettering.com/

www.rendezvousprojects.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Editors

About Rendezvous Projects

Rendezvous Projects is a Community Interest Company based in Waltham Forest, developing creative ways of exploring social history and providing opportunities for communities to take part in the work. The organisation is run by Iain Aitch, Rosa Ainley, Katherine Green, Lucy Harrison and Michael Needham.
www.rendezvousprojects.org.uk

Lightboxes and Lettering has been made possible with a £58,200 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focuses on the pre-digital era of printing in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and the experiences of people involved in the industry.

 

About Bow Arts

 

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. http://www.heritagefund.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund.

 

 

Further information

For further information, interviews and press images please contact Lucy Harrison at Rendezvous Projects on 07971 963668 or info@rendezvousprojects.org.uk

 

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Lightboxes + Lettering

Rendezvous’s project about print in East London is building up into its last stage, working on the project book and also planning the final show at Nunnery Gallery in Bow. This week we had some press coverage from the East London Advertiser. You can read the full piece here.

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Foresight: AA Visiting School in Stuttgart

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This is the side elevation of this amazing building in the abk, State Academy of Fine Arts, where we were running the Foresight Visiting School for ten days. Undoubtedly the most beautiful space I’ve ever worked in. With Sue Barr, we were delivering a photography and writing programme as a way of looking at and imagining architecture in the future. Naturally, this involved looking at spaces and places from the past, such as the Hannibal estate, Weissenhof, the modernist exhibition site/housing estate with buildings by Corb, Mies, Taut, Gropius, among others, as well the Stadtbibliothek and the contentious Stuttgart21 regeneration of the Hauptbahnhof.

Directed by abk’s Marianne Mueller and Fahim Mohammadi, we had a delightful group of 11 students, highly engaged and productive. Their work was impressive too, especially given the timescale; some worked from image to text, some text to image, and their writing touched on many forms. These included: manifesto, lament, autobiography, poetry concret, letter, postcard, fiction, poison pen, dialogue, monologue, scripts, utopias and dystopias and disruptions and interventions in all of the above. There were provocations, threats, questions, interrogations.

The images here show the Stirling Staatgalerie, the harbour and the work for the students’ final jury, with visiting critics photographer Peter Bialobrzeski and gallerist and publisher Marcus Hartmann.

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Meanwhile, back in the real world

I reread an earlier post from this year at the beginning of summer/end of teaching about ‘this is what I want to be doing’ – three projects in the pipeline – and this is what I’m already doing – another three, already in some state of progress. Oh the over-ambitious possibilities of what can be fitted in, when there’s also holidays and the (realistic) rest of teaching to be done.

Those that I want to be doing – the ruined Gillespie, Kidd, Koia seminary at Cardross in Dumbartonshire; the new piece in my waiting series; the ‘uncreative fiction’ idea (with thanks to Kenneth Goldsmith‘s book of the same name – will all be still taking tiny steps, in my head at least. My plan to visit the seminary this summer didn’t come off. This was partly because of fairly extreme weather: there’s not much point trying to do a site visit and document the place in pouring rain, especially when it’s a precarious ruin in the middle of the countryside. And again, I was trying to fit too much into a holiday. There could be something of a pattern emerging here.

Then, of those projects that I’m already doing, the Lightboxes + Lettering book and exhibition are steaming ahead, while The Alphabet Tax, my novel, has made big steps this summer in my head, if not quite yet on paper.

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Writing Stuttgart

I’m really excited that I’ve been invited to collaborate at the AA Visiting School in Stuttgart with Marianne Mueller and my friend and photographer Sue Barr.

This is the description of the School, we’ll be exploring ideas about ‘what life in the future will be like, through an exploration of our social, cultural and technological present. It will be based at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. We will work with fine art photographers and writers to capture emerging glimpses of life in the near future. We will carry out observational research, digital photography, image production and image manipulation, as well as creative and structured writing. Our work will be documented in a publication and shown in an exhibition. A series of field trips will give participants the opportunity to explore centres of innovation in and around Stuttgart.’

It’s right up my street, very pleased to be working on a project on future and speculative ideas about architecture. Some overlaps with my novel The Alphabet Tax too.

The Visiting School takes place from 6 to 14 September: see here later for more details.

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Lightboxes + Lettering

Walking round Hackney, Clerkenwell, Islington and Tower Hamlets in the last few weeks, I’ve been taking reference shots of where old print premises used to be. I’d decided on about 20 locations, for various reasons including the type of place, other material we’d found during the research process, printers mentioned in oral history interviews etc.

None of them exist anymore. This in itself is not so surprising, but it does go a long way to underline the importance of the project. It’s not just about developing technologies and their role in changing the print industry, it’s also about the changing nature of high streets and the role of regeneration initiatives in transforming neighbourhoods. As ever, plenty of interesting buildings to see, even if they’re nothing to do with the print trade anymore, or if they’ve been replaced by completely different buildings.

We may not want everything to stay the same: personally I don’t. But reminding ourselves of what was there and realising that there are other ways for cities and districts in them to look is always important.

This is on Pollards Row, Bethnal Green, close by to where the premises of JS Forsaith used to be.

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This is one of the doorways of what used to be Hartstein’s on Commercial Road.

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And this one at Sugarhouse Lane in Stratford, erstwhile site of the Ink Factory, rather sums up the situation.

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