Student Lucy Southwell was part of the MSc Medical Art class that was led this semester by Museum Curator Matthew Jarron and Senior Archivist Jan Merchant. Having worked on promotional material for museums in London and a zine based on her own family history, Lucy was keen to collaborate on further projects using the collections. For Museum Services she contributed to illustrations for the Decolonising the D’Arcy Thompson Museum project (watch out for a blog about this later) and she was also keen to promote the University’s Archive collections by designing a series of posters. 

After some discussion, she decided to focus on three main areas: the University’s records, which include material created by staff and students going back to the 1880s; NHS Tayside’s hospital and asylum collections; and the local collections which were created by local people, business and organisations.  

As features for each she chose the student publication College magazine which was published between 1888 and 1952, the Sunnyside Asylum collection which dates back to 1797, and the Sidlaw Industries collection of over two centuries of jute manufacturers’ business records. 

 Workers leaving Caldrum Works c 1900 from the Sidlaw collections

Lucy’s ideas for the posters were different and exciting and she quickly produced some visuals based on different types of literature. More discussion with the Archive staff then led to three brilliant faux book covers, complete with ‘blurb’ about the stories of each collection.

 Lucy’s response to the Sidlaw textile collections channeling Tin Tin and the Famous Five

 Lucy was inspired by records detailing recreational activity in Sunnyside asylum and blended this with her interest in pulp fiction novels dealing with controversial topics.

 Patients’ recreation at Sunnyside
Lucy’s pulp fiction cover

Finally she recreated the University’s student magazine ‘The College’ as a ‘ a pastiche of the modern photos taken of students to promote universities, cheesy smiles and typical campus photos.’

You can see more about Lucy’s development of the posters on her blog post at:

For the Archive, working with Lucy has been a really enjoyable experience, one which they hope they can repeat again. For now, they’d like to see the posters printed and displayed, so watch this space…. 

You can see more of Lucy’s work at:

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