British Library – Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line

Looking forward to visiting this! I’ve been asked to write a short blog entry for the BL website, which I hope to do shortly. Here’s Stuart’s writeup (and he announces he’ll be part of a session on the exhibition in January).

Progressive Geographies

bl-maps-exhib-img-624x351Last night I attended the opening of the British Library exhibition ‘Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line‘.

The lead curator is Tom Harper, but as he insisted, this was a collaborative project, and there were external experts used such as Mike Heffernan from the University of Nottingham.

The British Library has a huge collection of maps, and one of the challenges was selecting just the 200 on display in the exhibition. Not all come from the BL collection, of course. Given the twentieth century focus, much is explicitly political or geopolitical, but there are also maps from fiction, artworks and tourism. There were some striking juxtapositions of maps and a single visit wasn’t enough to take it all in. I’m hoping to go back. I was particularly struck by Satomi Matoba’s Topographical Map of Utopia, which uses military maps to build up a representation of the…

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