“Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” photography exhibition

The University of Cambridge is a world leading seat of learning and at the heart of each of its thirty one colleges sits a library, the hub that preserves books, manuscripts and documents and which has disseminated knowledge down the generations.  Photographer Sara Rawlinson has turned her lens onto these contemplative places, which are often hidden from public view, in her project “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”.

Corpus Christi College, Parker Library
The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

As well as wider shots of the libraries, Sara particularly likes to concentrate on tiny details of structures and textures such as radiator grilles, bolts, shelving systems and their numbering.  Sara will be showing images from twenty five college libraries at her “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition which is happening at the Heong Gallery in Downing College from 11 – 17 February.  The exhibition will also feature several rotating pyramidal lecterns designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century and which are being loaned by the Wren Library at Trinity College.

Handles at Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Handles at Emmanuel College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara grew up in Minnesota, USA, working throughout her childhood alongside her photographer grandmother in the dark room.  She went on to have a very successful research and academic career, taking a PhD in Seismology and Earth Sciences and subsequently running a Masters degree course in Natural Hazards at the Australian National University.  Throughout her scientific career, Sara continued to take art classes and eventually left the academic world to pursue her love of photography.  She relocated to Cambridge with her husband and young daughter a couple of years ago and now runs a full time fine art photography studio from her home in the city.

Sara Rawlinson at King's College, Cambridge
Sara in King’s College Chapel.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Alongside the “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” project, at the invitation of the Dean of Chapel at King’s College, Sara has been photographing the historic Chapel in a new light with an artist’s eye, capturing images of areas that are hidden from view and tiny details that are often overwhelmed by the grandiosity of the space.  It’s as well that Sara has a head for heights as she’s climbed the tiny stairwell and negotiated the narrow corridors to get on to the Chapel roof and has also, by serendipity, been up in a cherry picker (which was deployed to replace lights in the Chapel), allowing her to take some amazing shots from a lofty perspective.

Old Library, Jesus College, Cambridge
Old Library, Jesus College.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara’s work was featured in the national press and online in 2018 as three of her images across both projects were shortlisted for the Historic Photographer of the Year award.  She is a member of Cambridge Open Studios, a community of around five hundred artists, craftspeople and designer-makers working throughout Cambridgeshire.  Last year, she transformed her house into a gallery for the first time to showcase her photography as part of the annual Open Studios event which takes place over weekends in July each year.  This year, Sara is planning to show her work at Open Studios again but this time in the Cellarer’s Chequer in Beche Road, a Grade 2* listed building owned by Cambridge City Council which is on the site of Barnwell Priory and which is rarely open to the public.

Library, Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College Library.  Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

 

The “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries” exhibition at the Heong Gallery will be open from 10.30am – 6pm each day from 11 – 17 February and entry is free.  There will be a Private View on 11 February from 6.30 – 8.30pm which will include readings from Cambridge based poet Michael Brown of poetry he has written in Pembroke College Library.  For more information on the exhibition, on Sara’s work, to register for the Private View and to buy prints, visit http://www.sararawlinson.com

What’s on in Cambridge – February

It may be midwinter out there but there’s still plenty happening in the city!  I’ll add to this listing as the month unfurls so please do get in touch if you know of an event that could be included.

Snowdrops at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Snowdrops at the Botanic Garden

2nd    10am – 1pm  Family Saturday – Prehistoric Plants.  Find out about the plants that were around at the time of the dinosaurs and make your own plant fossil to take home.  Botanic Garden.  Free event.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk  Read more about the Botanic Garden here

2nd    2 – 4pm  Family First Saturday.  Art activities on the theme of Chinese New Year, in collaboration with Cambridge China Centre.  Fitzwilliam Museum.  Free event.  http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

2nd    7.30pm  Impromptu Shakespeare.  A semi-regular meet up for Shakespeare lovers to explore their theatrical side.  Salisbury Arms, Tenison Road.  http://www.facebook.com/groups/impromptushakespeare or email shakespearereadthrough@gmail.com  Read more about this Shakespeare group here

3rd    7.30pm  “Romantic Russia” concert.  Sampson Orchestra.  Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gliere.  West Road Concert Hall.  Tickets bought from Cam Sight will be donated to the charity.  http://www.camsight.org.uk  Read more about Cam Sight here

4th    7pm  Curry Night, raising money for Cam Sight.  Prana, Mill Road  http://www.camsight.org.uk  Read more about Cam Sight here

7 – 9th    7.45pm  The Mikado.  Cambridge University G & S Society.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

9th    2 – 5.30pm  An Introduction to Nature Poetry.  Study day with Cambridge scholars Paul Chirico and Oliver Goldstein.  How does 19th century poetry speak to us now, in a time of climate change?  Stapleford Granary CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/nature/  Read more about Literature Cambridge here

9 – 10th    11am – 4pm  Rowan “Cambridge Seen” Art Exhibition and sale.  Works created by local artists, on sale at £45 each, raising funds to help Rowan’s student artists lead a more fulfilled life.  Long Road Sixth Form College, CB2  http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk  Read more about Rowan here

11 – 17th    10.30am – 6pm “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”, a pop-up exhibition by photographer, Sara Rawlinson.  Heong Gallery, Downing College.  http://www.sararawlinson.com  Read more about Sara and her work here and here

13th    7.30pm  Spanglish Speed Dating – Valentine Special.  The Emperor Tapas pub, Hills Road.  Facebook: @SpanishCentreUK

13th    7.30pm  An Evening with Preti Taneja, author of “We That Are Young”, a dazzling re-writing of King Lear, set in modern India.  Stapleford Granary, CB22.  http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/taneja/   Read more about Literature Cambridge here

15 – 17th    Ahbab Festival, celebrating Middle Eastern and North African culture in music, film and food.  Cambridge Junction.  http://www.junction.co.uk

15 – 16th    Sat noon – 6pm/Sun 10am – 5pm  Cambridge Book Fair.  85 booksellers and refreshment by Indigo Cafe.  The Guildhall, Market Square.  http://www.pbfa.org

16th    11am – 5pm  Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Festival, “Affecting Every Existence”.  Fisher’s Building, St John’s College.  Facebook: @CambridgeClimateForum

16th    8pm  Stravinsky “The Rite of Spring” and Rachmaninov “Symphonic Dances”.  Cambridge University Orchestra.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.adcticketing.com

20th    4.30 – 7.30pm  Twilight at the Museums.  Explore 14 local museums and collections after dark.  Free, drop in event with activities and themed trails across the venues.  http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk

21st    6.30 – 8.30pm  Cam Late: Botanic Nights.  An evening in the Glasshouse Range with craft beer and atmospheric light displays.  Over 18’s only.  Botanic Garden.  http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk  Read more about the Botanic Garden here

26th    7.30pm  Academy of Ancient Music, Lucie Horsch with Richard Egarr.  Vivaldi and Bach.  West Road Concert Hall.  http://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/tickets

Glasshouse at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Glasshouse at the Botanic Garden

 

Cambridge Open Studios

The annual Cambridge Open Studios event returns as the workshops and studios of 350 artists, craftspeople and designer-makers across Cambridgeshire open their doors over four weekends in July to showcase painting, ceramics, sculpture, handmade jewellery, glass, photography and much more.

Cambridge Open Studios logo 2018
Image credit: Cambridge Open Studios

This is a great opportunity to see artists at work, to discuss their techniques and inspiration and to browse, buy or even commission their work, although there is no pressure to buy.  Entry to all studios is free.  Last week, I caught up with a couple of participants who are getting ready for Open Studios.

Sara Rawlinson library
Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara RawlinsonRegular readers of this blog may remember photographer, Sara Rawlinson, who I first met last September when I wrote about her journey from seismology to photography and her exhibition at Michaelhouse, “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”.  Over these past months, Sara has continued with her project, taking stunning photographs of more college libraries.  She has plans for another exhibition and is also branching out into flower photography, particularly looking at tiny details, the texture of petals and frosty grasses in monochrome.

Sara Rawlinson flower
Image credit: Sara Rawlinson

Sara is looking forward to opening her home studio in Beche Road for the first time and will be welcoming visitors on all four weekends.  Find out more about Sara and her work on http://www.sararawlinson.com

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge

Over at Rowan in Humberstone Road, the student artists are hard at work creating beautiful pieces in their studios.  Rowan is an arts centre for people with learning disabilities and there’s truly a family atmosphere here.  The student artists are supported to be autonomous, encouraged to learn and try new things and to enjoy being together in the light, airy social spaces that run through the building.

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge woodcarvingRowan Humberstone Cambridge woodwork

The work spaces were a hive of activity when I dropped in last week, with gorgeous cards being produced in the Print Studio, wooden phone stands, lamps and candlesticks coming from the Woodwork Studio and bright felted wool scarves hanging up to dry in the Textiles Studio.

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge textiles

The Ceramic and Mixed Media studios were equally busy and the Rowan team, who are old hands at the Cambridge Open Studios event, are looking forward to welcoming visitors on the weekend of 7 and 8 July.  Proceeds from the sale of the student artists’ work go straight back into the charity to enable their remarkable work to continue.  Rowan also takes commissions for one off pieces.  You’ll find more on http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk

Rowan Humberstone Cambridge vase
Image credit: Rowan

In a new initiative, Cambridge Open Studios has joined forces with ofo bikes this year, with the dual aim of helping visitors travel between city centre studios easily whilst reducing the environmental impact of the event.  You can locate ofo bikes using the free ofo Smartphone app, available from the App Store or Google Play.  Then just use a code printed in the Open Studios yellow guidebook to claim five free one hour ofo bike rides and get pedalling!

ofo bicycle Cambridge
Image credit: ofo

Studios will be open to visitors from 11am to 6pm on July 7/8, 14/15, 21/22 and 28/29 and entry is free.  Do bear in mind that not every artist will exhibit every weekend.  You’ll find printed guides for this event in shops, galleries and libraries.  You can also go to the website to download the 2018 COS App which gives full details of the Open Studios together with an interactive map to help you with planning your day and navigation.

http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk

This event takes place at multiple locations in and around the city.