From hieroglyph to emoji


The British Library's new exhibition 'Writing: Making Your Mark' celebrates the act of writing and will provide anyone involved in Schoolreaders with a fascinating and thought-provoking experience. The extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements is examined through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents.

The exhibition follows the evolution of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone via early printed text such as William Caxton’s edition of 'The Canterbury Tales', to the art of note-taking by some of history’s greatest minds, and onwards to the digital communication tools we use today. Exhibits are incredibly diverse and include James Joyce’s collection of notes for 'Ulysses' and a 60,000-strong petition against Bengali partition. These sit alongside Burmese tattooing instruments and a new take on typography by the Russian artist El Lissitzky to illustrate how writing allows us to enact change and make a lasting creative mark of our own.

Finally the exhibition asks us to reflect on writing’s future and the role it will play in an increasingly digital world. Will we abandon pens and keyboards for voice and video messaging, or continue to carry the traditions of ancient times with us?

The exhibition runs until 27th August 2019

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