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Posters: The Original Social Media?


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Glimpses From Around the World 1905 - 1999

Curated by Mary V. Mullin and Hannah Byles*

A selection of posters from the Poster Collection of Mary V. Mullin, AUB Honorary Fellow of 2006.

Mary V. Mullin is Chairman of the Sir Misha Black Awards Committee for Distinguished Services to Design Education, Trustee of the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, other Trusts and Regional Adviser to the World Design Organisation. She has served on numerous professional bodies including, as Secretary-General of the International Council of Graphic Design for fourteen years, Vice President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, Founder Member of the Crafts Council of Ireland and National Chairman of DIA. She ran her own consultancy in design and special event management in London from 1981 to 1998. Clients included the Conran Foundation’s Boilerhouse Project at the precursor of the Design Museum. In 2017 she was awarded the Bi-Centennial Medal of the RSA for ‘Encouraging and Promoting Design across Education and Industry’.

The exhibition shows posters from the eclectic collection acquired in the course of Mary Mullin’s career. They contrast a wide variety of styles from countries as far apart as Japan and Ireland, Uruguay and Sweden and date from 1905 to 1999. The origins are entirely serendipitous and there never was an intention to form ‘a collection’ as such. The posters were presented, gifted, inherited, donated and acquired. As a result, there is no particular theme or subject matter, no geographic grouping or medium emphasis. They come in many styles formats and languages.

The striking variety of posters reflects many aspects of social, political and cultural change throughout the twentieth century. Some were for public display –cinemas, theatre, opera, ballet, exhibitions, festivals, events. Others were created for competitions or peer approval. They showcase many different graphic and print styles. Cultural nuances are captured in the interpretation of universal themes. The exhibition informs, inspires and provokes the viewer and reminds that, as social media today imitates, posters essence succinct storytelling and the art of communication in its most immediate and universal form.

*Please note that our Posters: The Original Social Media? Glimpses From Around the World 1905-1999 exhibition is being postponed until further notice. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. New dates will be announced in due course.

Meet The Curators: Mary V. Mullin and Hannah Byles

Mary V. Mullin was a founding Trustee for the ICOGRADA Foundation. She is also the first woman to be elected to the Board or the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design and served as Vice President. (Now the World Design Organisation or WDO). She developed the Interdesign Programme for ICSID and advised on events in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, Serfaus and Vienna (Austria), Belgium, Canada, Mexico. She is a Trustee of the ‘Inspire Foundation’ for research into spinal injuries.

She was and remains as a Founder Member of the Crafts Council of Ireland. She has been a consultant for UNIDO in Latin America and was National Chairman of the Design and Industries Association in the UK. She was a Director of the British Professional Conference Organisers Association. She worked on the Corporate Foundation of W R Grace & Co in New York and in Kilkenny Design Workshops in Ireland. She was Founding Director of the National Centre of Culture and Arts in Dublin (now the Museum of Modern Art) She ran her own consultancy practice in design and special event management in London from 1981 to 1998. This included working with the V&A’s ‘Boilerhouse ’, the precursor to the Design Museum, Science Museum, Design Research Unit and other leading design practices and commercial clients.

She is an Hon. Fellow of the Royal College of Art London, Arts University Bournemouth the International Society of Typographic Design and Honorary Life Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), London

She has served as a Trustee of Wexford Festival Opera Trust UK since 1982. She was made a Life Friend in 2005. She is a Committee Member (since 1982) of Irish Heritage, which helps, through bursaries and concert performances, young Irish musicians and composers studying in London… She was London Chairman for the ‘Sense of Ireland’ (1981) – the six-week multi-cultural, multi venue Festival of Irish Arts.

In November to 2017 she was Awarded the Bi-Centenary Medal of the RSA “for encouraging and Promoting Design Across Education and Industry“, the first Irish person to receive this Medal.

Hannah Byles is a Senior Lecturer on BA (Hons) Visual Communication at Arts University Bournemouth.

Hannah completed her MA in Communication design at Central Saint Martins, which focused on the unspoken word and the communication through gestures and paralanguage. Her research Interest continues to be in the format and sequence of books and experimental binding techniques and structures. On completion of a Graduate Diploma in Bookbinding and Book Conservation she has worked on bespoke projects, and has work in public and private collections.

With a keen interest in Letterpress and the use of letterpress within contemporary design Hannah’s exploration is focused on developing the letterpress facilities within the course, cataloguing the typefaces and constructing new typeface collections. Collaborative projects in this subject area have enabled the collection to merge with new technologies.

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