Rare Bites: Orientalism in Thomas Allom’s Engravings

section of Thomas Allom's Orientalist image

Orientalist painting was one of the many genres of the 19th Century art. Thomas Allom (1804-1872) was a well-known British illustrator in the 19th Century. In Allom’s publication — China Illustrated, there are 75 steel engravings of original sketches of Chinese social habits, scenery and architectures. Orientalism shaped how Allom depicted about things and what Allom understood about Chinese society. Jenny’s talk will refer to art historian Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking essay The Imaginary Orient to discuss orientalism in Thomas Allom’s engravings.

When: 23 August 2018; 1-1.30pm

Where: Fisher Library, Level 2, Seminar Room

Speaker: Jenny Zhijun Yang

Rare Bites is a series of informal and entertaining 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester. “Orientalism in Thomas Allom’s Engravings” is the fourth talk in Rare Bites 2018 series.

If you want to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections at the University Library, this is your opportunity. Audience attendance is free for all, please register here.

About the speaker:

Jenny Zhijun Yang is the curator of  a pop up exhibition currently on display in the Fisher Library on Level 4: Perspectives of an outsider: Thomas Allom’s fascination with 19th century China. Jenny is a postgraduate student studying Master of Art Curating at the University of Sydney. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in history and Asian studies in 2017, and was awarded the Summer Research Scholarship of the University of Auckland. Jenny is currently a gallery host at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and was previously a gallery assistant at the Auckland Art Gallery. She co-curated the Giuseppe Castiglione Print Exhibition(宫廷画师郎世宁)at the George Fraser Gallery in collaboration with the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation and the National Museum of Taiwan. Moreover, Jenny has volunteered for many cultural institutions such as the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Confucius Institute in Auckland, the Powerhouse Museum, the Verge Gallery and the Sydney Biennale. Jenny has a Chinese heritage and her global perspective was refined through exchanging to the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, attending a summer school at Sciences Po, Paris and doing an internship in Dublin, Ireland.

Rare Books: The Art of Mathematics

rare books illustration usyd

The exhibition will chart a course beginning at the close of the 1400s and relate a coherent and comprehensive narrative about the developments of mathematics (and science more generally) through to the nineteenth century. It will achieve this through reference to the art of mathematics. That is, through the scientific diagrams and engraved frontispieces that accompany the Library’s collection of treatises on mathematical topics. The exhibition will, therefore, draw on Laura Kotevska’s expertise as a historian and philosopher of mathematics to convey the rich and varied developments that took place during this period. The exhibition will include some of the most significant holdings of the Rare Books & Special Collections.

Located on Level 1 of Fisher Library, this exhibition runs from 13 August 2018 to 10 February 2019.

Exhibition: The Seeds of Songs and the Songs of Seeds: Warlpiri and Anmatyerr Women’s Songs

Yawulyu are a genre of Warlpiri women’s songs which encode knowledge of links to country, kinship connections and Dreaming stories as well as detailed ethnobiological knowledge from this unique region in the desert of Central Australia. This exhibition visually and auditorily presents this endangered genre of Indigenous Australian music through showcasing examples of Ngurlu ‘Seed’ and Watiyawarnu ‘Acacia tenuissima’ yawulyu sung by Warlpiri women from Yuendumu, Willowra and Alekerenge. This exhibition also features artwork and photographs of Warlpiri women singing, painting up and dancing these yawulyu.

This exhibition is at the Conservatorium Library from 6 August – 6 October.

What ever happened to those great ideas from Lion’s Den?

students studying at computers

Last year we ran the Lion’s Den challenge and heard some great ideas from students on how we can make the student experience even better. The winner walked away with a $1000 prize, but what happened to their ideas?

The Library has been busy working with other areas in the University to introduce these ideas into our services.

Timeout on student computers (William)

The winning idea was the introduction of auto-logout on student computers. Starting semester 2, all student PCs in our Libraries will log-out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Stationery and Coffee vending (Henry)

You may have already noticed the stationery vending machine on Level 3 of Fisher Library, but if you find yourself in Fisher Library at 3am and need a pick-me-up, you’ll now be able to grab a coffee from the vending machine in the kitchen.

Standing desks for students (Jushina)

Another great idea was the introduction of areas with standing desks for student. With the relocation of printers from Fisher Library stack, we have the opportunity to bring in standing desks as part of the printer bay refurbishment. Keep your eyes peeled for the new furniture in Semester 2.

PC availability at the Library entrance (Wenqian)

Also on the cards for late 2018 are displays at Fisher Library indicating which library spaces and Learning Hubs have the most available PCs. As soon as ICT complete the upgrade of the software we will be rolling it out to all libraries.

Go home safe (Jennifer)

Getting around the University safely is of utmost importance, and this great idea involved finding groups of students with similar destinations to travel with when leaving Fisher Library at night. We are working with Security to introduce this idea and look forward to being able to announce an initiative later in the year.

Look out for the Lion’s Den challenge coming in 2019. Pitch your idea for the Library and you could win $1000.


Lights! Camera! Action! – One button recording studio in ThinkSpace

recording studio interior

Introducing our new One Button Recording Studio in ThinkSpace!

Our studio is the simplest way to record professional looking video of your presentation or assignment, video blog or public speaking practice. The studio is soundproofed and fitted with a large background display which is height adjustable for accessibility. A teleprompter is available for displaying presenter notes and we have 2 lapel microphones to record audio.

Your presentation can be loaded via USB or run from your laptop (HDMI connection supplied). It’s as easy as pushing one button!

The finished production is a high quality mp4 file. Please bring a USB with at least 4GB of space (formatted as FAT32) to record the video (it will not record onto a computer).

To book time in the studio visit our ThinkSpace page

interior recording studio

Printer in Residence 2018: Wendy Murray

wendy murray printer in residence holds letterpress poster

We are excited to announce Wendy Murray as the Library’s inaugural Printer in Residence.

Wendy is a Sydney-based artist and arts educator with extensive experience in letterpress printing. Her work addresses social and political issues through poster making and book arts.

During her 8-week residency at the Piscator Press, Wendy will use letterpress and digital printing processes to produce an edition of 80 copies of Sydney – we need to talk, a collection of short, accessible explorations of the politics of urbanisation. Authored by a multi-disciplinary team of University of Sydney scholars, the book will be launched as part of the 5th Festival of Urbanism in September 2018. As well as using the Library’s Albion presses and type collections, Wendy’s design will draw upon the historic publications of the Piscator Press that are now held in Rare Books & Special Collections, a display of which will be installed in the Library in the coming weeks.

Of this project, Wendy writes, ‘This illustrated book is an experiment with collaborative short-form writing. Each co-authored piece involves a dialogue between people and places. Sydney is the central character in each essay, as each author is Sydney based – we draw from our research and experiences in our city. And, each essay goes somewhere else: Sydney meets another city’.

Wendy’s project will also provide a valuable learning opportunity for second-year SCA Printmedia students, who will be involved in the final printing and binding processes.

A detailed program of events associated with the residency, including open studios, launch events and the companion exhibition, will be added to this page shortly.

Find out more about Wendy and her work on her website and Instagram.

street scene Wendy Murray with full size poster print


Art Scene
The University of Sydney Chancellor’s Committee