The historic art of printing which gave rise to modern graphic design and influenced social and political thinking will be explored through a pioneering new research centre. Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham are opening the Centre for Printing History and Culture which will see academics, curators and practitioners examine the history and influence of the art form.
Research at the Centre will look at the impact of printing on industrialisation, gender politics, the human mind and how the printed word brought about changes to the English language. It will also examine the formation of print-based industries such as newspapers and how the art was used to support key events like the anti-fascist and anti-apartheid movements.
The Centre will also provide education and training into the historic art and look at printing changes and trends spanning centuries and from across the globe.
"Birmingham is Britain's most historically important centre of printing outside of London," commented Caroline Archer, Professor of Typography at Birmingham City University. "Through its connections with John Baskerville, the famous printer, Birmingham became the centre of European printing during the mid-eighteenth century and is the ideal place for research into this culturally significant art form.
"For three centuries the city's printers, type-founders, engravers, bookmakers, newspaper makers and typographic educators have combined to make the region not only a local but also national and international typographic force."
The partnership will be marked with an exhibition of titled 'Hopes and Dreams: Statements of intent explored' which will be held at Birmingham City University's Parkside Gallery between January 11 and February 12.
The exhibition organised alongside members of Letter Exchange will feature letters from history with political, artistic, religious or historic significance which provoke thought.