Vintage maps_University of Nottingham_geography

Vintage maps of Nottingham highlight city’s futuristic transformation in art exhibition

Friday, 04 February 2022

The University of Nottingham’s School of Geography has loaned a selection of historical maps of Nottingham to an exhibition set in an imagined future version of the city.

The maps, on display at Nottingham Contemporary’s ‘Our Silver City, 2094’, provide visitors with a historical context for the artworks, which imagine the city in 72 years’ time. It features major new commissions by artists Céline Condorelli, Femke Herregraven, Grace Ndiritu, and novelist Liz Jensen.

Between the futuristic works, visitors will find several maps from the School of Geography’s 85,000-strong collection, which includes an extensive holding of local maps, historic town plans, UK Ordnance Survey maps, World War I trench maps and German maps of the UK from World War II. 

We are delighted to see these maps exhibited in such a thought-provoking exhibition. Their display highlights how maps are both artistic and scientific representations of the world around us.
Elaine Watts, Cartographic Manager in the university’s School of Geography
We’re thrilled to be able to include these incredible maps, they offer important context on Nottingham – the city in which the exhibition is situated – and provoke us to think about how we might use maps or generate new cartographies in the future.
Olivia Aherne, Curator at Nottingham Contemporary

Our Silver City, 2094 includes works by around 30 artists and collectives, including: Roger Ackling, Anni Albers, Armando D. Cosmos, Revital Cohen and Tuur van Balen, Isa Genzken, Charlotte Johannesson, Hannah Catherine Jones, On Kawara, Agnieszka Kurant, Nicola L, Vivian Lynn, Eline McGeorge, Sandra Mujinga, Anthony McCall, John Newling, Asad Raza, Ben Rivers, Connie Samaras, Cauleen Smith, Michael E. Smith, Jenna Sutela, Elisabeth Wild, Zara Zandieh, and Andrea Zittel. It will be accompanied by a specially commissioned novella by Liz Jensen.

The exhibition has been designed alongside Future of Futures – a year-long research, engagement, and artistic project led by young people – and draws upon conversations across Nottingham, with school children, climate scientists and geographers.

Details of maps in the collection can be found on the university’s NUsearch catalogue and the School of Geography’s map collection website. Members of the public or the wider university wishing to consult the collection should contact Cartographic Manager Elaine Watts.

The exhibition is open until Monday 18 April 2022.

Story credits

More information is available from Elaine Watts, in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham at

Exhibition credits

Curatorial framework by Prem Krishnamurthy, who has co-curated the exhibition with Kiera Blakey, Sam Thorne and Nicole Yip, assisted by Olivia Aherne and Hannah Wallis. Young people's programme curated by Wingshan Smith.

This exhibition is generously supported by OMNI, PRS, Arts Council England, and the specialists in art logistics, Queen's.

Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham Contemporary is an international centre of contemporary art with a strong sense of local purpose. Since opening in 2009, we have held more than 60 exhibitions, with over 2 million visitors to date. We present innovative and interwoven programmes of international exhibitions, learning, partnerships, research and new commissions. We are committed to excellence, experimentation, ambition and innovation. Nottingham Contemporary was shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019. Nottingham Contemporary is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and regularly funded by Nottingham City Council.

Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham NG1 2GB, 0115 948 9750 

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798