The British Library has announced its new exhibition, Writing: Making Your Mark, which will look at the 5,000 years across the globe and how writing has developed.
Beginning with the origins of writing in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and the Americas, the exhibition will chart the evolution of writing through technology. Exploring more than 40 different writing systems, from the 5,000-year-old Jemdet Nasr clay tablet to digital typefaces and emojis.
The British Library’s research collection has every age of written civilisation, including books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps and sound recordings. With the exhibition highlighting how writing can be personal, functional, beautiful or political by showcasing a schoolchild’s homework from 100-199AD, Florence Nightingale’s diary alongside a 60,000-strong petition from 1905 protesting against the first partition of Bengal.
Adrian Edwards, lead curator of Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library said, “From street signs to social media, writing surrounds us in the modern world and reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it around the globe. In the 5,000 years since speech was first turned into symbol, written communications has stimulated innovations as varied as the printing press and smart phones. Writing: Making Your Mark, asks what the future holds for writing and how we will choose to make our mark in the decades to come.”
There will be a series of events inspired by the exhibition, featuring experts exploring hieroglyphics, alphabets, typography and tattoos. There will also be free school workshops, a range of adult courses and an audio-description tour for visitors who are blind or partially-sighted and an autism-friendly private view of the exhibition.
The exhibition will also travel to 20 partner libraries around the UK including Belfast, Norwich, Exeter and Edinburgh.