Katherine Meynell, ‘Elizabeth’: Screening and Q&A

2 December 2016, 6.15pm
Reid Auditorium, Glasgow School of Art

ELIZABETH concerns the life and work of typographer Elizabeth Friedlander. It draws connections between displacement, cultural legacy and contemporary issues surrounding library funding.

Elizabeth Friedlander was a calligrapher, typographer and graphic designer, who trained at the Berlin Academy with ER Weiss. The only woman of her generation to have designed a Western typeface – ‘Elizabeth’ was commissioned in 1928 by the Bauer Type Foundry and is still in use digital form – her contribution to histories of design and type remains virtually unknown. In 1936, forbidden to continue to work in Germany, Elizabeth left Berlin with her mother’s Klotz violin and her portfolio. Navigating Europe as a refugee, aided only by her brilliance as a designer, she lived in Milan and then fled again, working in London for many years before retiring to Kinsale, Ireland in 1961. Accounts of Friedlander are sparse yet reveal a quiet, determined and highly sociable individual counting amongst her friends the Toscanini’s, Noel Coward, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Stanley Morison and many other luminaries of the design world. During her career Friedlander worked for numerous international publishing companies including Penguin, Mondadori and Thames & Hudson. She also contributed her skills during WW2 for the Political Intelligence Department in London, where amongst other things she forged Wehrmacht and Nazi Party rubber stamps. Meynell’s film tells the story of Friedlander’s archive which is only partly available. Attending to issues of cultural legacy that encircle the contribution of women designers to design history, it reflects on broader themes relating to deplacement, visibility and aesthetics framed through the lens of artist moving image.

ELIZABETH will be followed by a conversation between Katharine Meynell and Dr. Helen McCormack, lecturer in Design History and Theory at Glasgow School of Art.

The event is open to the public. Free tickets can be booked through eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/elizabeth-screening-and-qa-with-director-katharine-meynell-tickets-29378905096

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