Without history, there is no future. We learn and progress through all that has gone before. The Manchester School of Art has its own history, having morphed through several changes in name and status, to the place it currently occupies within Manchester Metropolitan University.
Its unique and valuable ‘Slide Library’ grew as a resource for the many and various subject areas taught there, with lecturers adding visual data pertinent to their teaching and subject specialisms. Key exhibitions were also occasionally recorded, opening up access for students without the means to travel, as well as for future generations.
From the mid 1960s, when the Art School became part of Manchester Polytechnic, the Dip AD (Diploma in Art and Design) became the new measure for Art and Design achievement. The final year “Dip Show” formed the culmination of each undergraduate’s submission. With University status, the Diploma Shows became Degree Shows, and the award a BA (Hons) Degree.
Recording these annual final year shows over half a century, the Slide Library (now the Visual Resources Centre) built up an amazing record of achievements in Art & Design education.
Dipping into the collection’s random “pockets of time”, one may see something of the many influences and innovations in use of media, colour, form, pattern and style, reflected in the works of each generation.
I have chosen to adopt seven slides connected to my own particular subject specialism and status as a lecturer on the Embroidery Course within the former Department of Fashion and Textiles from 1966 to 2005. Each slide has a narrative, or a history, pertinent to “Embroidery” as it existed within the Art School, Polytechnic and, latterly, MMU.
Slide EMB 2.01 shows a Girls’ Friendly Society banner that is typical of its early 20th century period. It was photographed for the Slide Library, in a local church, in 1978. As a fine example of its time, it would be useful for lectures on the History of Embroidery.
Subsequent research revealed that the banner had, in fact, been designed and made by Miss Doris Taylor, who taught embroidery at the Art School for several years.
Shortly after this photo was taken, St. Margaret’s Church suffered an arson attack, in which the banner was completely destroyed. So, this slide may well be the only record in colour of this banner, and its links to the subject of embroidery within the Art School’s teaching.
Embroidery Lecturer, 1966-2005