Redesigning the Medieval Book

Alongside Designing English, an exhibition from 2017, which showed the imagination and ingenuity of books in English in the Middle Ages, we invited contemporary artists and craftspeople to come and see those medieval manuscripts and make new books – or alternatives to books – inspired by what they saw.

Some people showed us that medieval crafts such as calligraphy or embroidery are still thriving today. Others designed new formats, from board games to video, which might suit medieval literature. Several artists adapted medieval formats – calendars, concertina books – in order to tell new stories about our very different society. Others imitated the medieval creativity in very modern materials – rubber stamps, smartphones, recycled paper. And several responded to our exhibition with humour or friendly critique.

Redesigning the Medieval Book shows how we might be inspired by medieval book design, in the handicrafts, arts and digital technology of our own age.

Thank you for all the entries. You can click through the gallery to view the entries from the project.

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Professor Daniel Wakelin