The Landscape of Housing

In 2022 The FOLAR symposium held at The MERL explored how Landscape Architecture worked in alliance with the design and planning of post-war housing. This exhibition explores these themes by highlighting some of the key Landscape Architects of this time, using documents and drawings from the Landscape Institute collections held in our Special Collections.

Unpicking the past

Jones Family CS - featured image for sewing memories exhibition
Over the past year, we have had many a conversation with individuals from across Reading and the surrounding area. These conversations have highlighted the role of the sewing machine in their lives, in the lives of their friends and families and, as the stories were shared and the laughter flowed, it drew attention to the [...]


A beekeeper's suit
People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority group, making up nearly 20% of the population. While many people are born with a condition, anyone can become disabled at any time. And yet, in so many contexts, disabled inclusivity is lacking. People’s needs are not anticipated, asked about, or accommodated for. But the disabled label [...]

Cardew | Shonibare | G.A.S

This exhibition celebrates creative links between rural England and West Africa. It explores the mid-century work of potter Michael Cardew, who founded a studio in Nigeria in 1951, and takes as its starting point a giant teapot made by him some years earlier. Here, Magdalena Kaggwa of the Yinka Shonibare Foundation, brings this story of […]

1918 Allotment, Oxford

Close up of snail on a leaf from JC Niala, 'Portal: 1918 Allotment' (Fig: Oxford, 2022), p.2

Between Spring and Autumn of 2021, JC Niala recreated an allotment in the style of 1918 on one of Fig’s plots on Elder Stubbs Allotments in Oxford. This online exhibition shares images and reflections from the resultant book. Entitled Portal:1918 Allotment, this formed a document of the project through poems, journal entries, and images. The […]

‘Be ye kind to one another’: rural togetherness in times of crisis

A Friendly Society festival.

People in the countryside have always had a strong sense of community, and this has always been the most apparent during times of hardship. Whether these crises throughout history were caused by pandemics, natural disasters, or socio-economic factors, many examples can be traced throughout English history of rural people banding together to survive. In this […]