Events, PotW
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#PotW: ‘Insulting the autumnal sky’: Senate House and the work of the Ministry of Information 1939-46

When: Thursday 2 February 2017, 6-8pm
Who: Senate House Library
Where: Chancellor’s Hall, first floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Between 1939 and 1946 the University of London’s Senate House, designed by Charles Holden, was occupied by the Ministry of Information (MOI). The MOI was tasked with justifying Britain’s case during the Second World War to a global audience. It also had the job of sustaining the morale of the British people.

By necessity, the MOI had to find a host of new ways to communicate to a wide range of people. It produced popular paperbacks and magazines, printed millions of posters, created comics and button badges, generated broadcasts, produced nearly 2,000 films, and send travelling exhibitions all over the country – and beyond.

In this year’s Charles Holden Lecture, Professor Simon Eliot will explore Senate House and the work of the MOI, starting with a discussion of Holden’s early work for the London Underground, which combined new typography and new mapping with architecture. In this context, Holden’s masterpiece, and the Ministry of Information which occupied it, can be seen as making new forms of communication concrete.

Professor Simon Eliot is professor of English studies at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Read more about Professor Eliot.

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