Friday 20 August 2021

May Event: Sara Rawlinson: Illuminating Cambridge Libraries: a 3 year photographic project on Cambridge Libraries


We all know certain Libraries around Cambridge. Maybe from working there, visiting colleagues or indeed attending CLG meetings in various locations. But when we can see into them in such amazing detail through Sara's work it really does open them up to us in so many ways.

I must say that personally I had presumed that the whole project was actually a commission from the University because of course these great photographs are both wonderful art pieces but also great adverts for various elements of Cambridge's college libraries and the University as a whole. But no. Totally based on Sara's desires to explore her skills and to really get to know Cambridge better it is a wonderful representation of the college libraries. And the views and angles of aspects of the libraries that Sara chose to give us an insight into. And that it took 3 years which shows the great dedication she has put into this.

Following the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the project Sara took us through her route through a variety of issues. From choices made for old or new libraries, which people she worked with or indeed around and what permissions needed to be gained. And how she could actually get the work done in all the different locations and varied equipment she had at her disposal over time.

College Libraries are a wonderful mixture of old and new (sometimes  library buildings of both types in the same college) that represent the changing times and requirements in the colleges and by extension the University itself. It also shows the real diversity of what Cambridge has to offer it's students. Some people might only see their own college Library whilst a student and they are missing out. Sara's book gives us all a great view of some of what we are missing.


I was hoping that someone would have bought me a copy of the book for my birthday but guess I will have to do it myself!

Oh I just have from Sara's Amazon page :)

When things are back to normal I will look forward to Sara's next exhibition she puts on as her work is certainly well worth seeing. More details will be on her website:

Kevin Symonds - Committee Secretary/Research Governance and Information Manager MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit