Peter Barber, Head of Cartographic and Topographic Materials at the British Library, helped make cartography cool again in the BBC Four series The Beauty of Maps. Tomorrow evening he will be at The University of Nottingham giving a public lecture that will look at how map exhibitions at the British Museum and British Library, going back to 1800 and up to the present, have reflected changing views of what maps were and are about and their roles in society and culture.
Peter Barber is the curator of some 4.5 million atlases, maps, globes and cartographic books at the British Library. Last year he featured in the BBC Four television series The Beauty of Maps which looked at the art of maps, their historical significance and their relevance to modern map-making. He also revealed some of the stories maps can tell.
His intriguing talk ‘Presenting Maps to the public: What Use, Lies, London and Magnificent Maps’ is being hosted by the School of Geography and will take place on Thursday March 31 2011 in the Sir Clive Ganger building on University Park.
Peter said: "It's really important that we retain our interest in hardcopy maps because they tell us so much about their makers and their societies in the broadest sense. We could be lost spiritually and culturally as well as geographically if we disgarded them altogether."
Last year’s BBC Four series coincided with the British Library’s exhibition Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art that ran until September last year.
The title of Peter Barber’s talk reflects the titles of map exhibitions held by the British Library over the last 20 years. More recent exhibitions have embraced a much wider variety of map that would have been frowned on in the past as ephemeral, commercial, ‘curious’ and scientifically inaccurate.
Today cartography has become cool again thanks to a new focus on the insights that maps can provide about social and historical phenomena, such as London life, court conventions and propaganda and the exercise of power.
It seems the map still has its place despite our obsession with the in-car sat-nav.
The lecture which takes place between 5pm and 6pm in Room A40 of the Sir Clive Granger building on University Park is open to the public and tickets are free. For more information please contact Andrea Payne firstname.lastname@example.org
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