Public events to accompany Wanderlust exhibition at University of Aberdeen library

Public events to accompany Wanderlust exhibition at University of Aberdeen library

A series of public talks and events to accompany a current exhibition at the University of Aberdeen’s Sir Duncan Rice Library will kick off next week (Tuesday, May 21).

The Wanderlust:Travel Journals and Explorers Notes exhibition will be on display until September 7, 2013 and from next week members of the public will be able to gain more insight into the exhibition.

Wanderlust: Travel Journals and Explorers’ Notes is accompanied by an engaging and lively public programme of talks and events which opens next week with an exploration of the German roots of the Wanderlust concept with Dr Simon Ward, from the Department of German and Film & Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen.

Dr Ward’s Goethe’s Wanderlust describes travel writing in German culture from the 18th century to the 1930s and will be hosted by the Special Collections Centre on Tuesday from 6pm.

Wanderlust describes a yearning for distant places. The term characterises an irrepressible compulsion to discover the unknown. The current exhibition at the Gallery of the Sir Duncan Rice Library features vivid writing contained in some of the travel journals and explorers’ notebooks held in the University’s Special Collections. Spanning four centuries, the writings displayed offer an insight into subjects as diverse as migration, colonialism, religion and ethnography in a way that is as intimate as it is exploratory. The personal nature of the writing along with the ephemera collected en route endow even the oldest of these journals with an immediacy and contemporary relevance that will be recognised by anyone who has ever made a scrapbook of holiday souvenirs.

Professor David Worthington of the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands explores the fascinating British and Irish networks in central Europe as recorded in the Triennial Travels of James Fraser, in A King’s College graduate abroad on Thursday, May 23 at 6pm. Fraser is a key figure in the Wanderlust exhibition. He travelled in Europe from 1666 to 1670, and collected his thoughts and observations in the volumes, Triennial Travels, held by the Special Collections.

Dr Karen Salt, Department of History at the University of Aberdeen, will explore the politics of space and the cataloguing of people in the journal, in an absorbing talk that encompasses ethnography, race, colonialism and the empire.  Documenting Culture/ Documenting Difference  will be held at the Special Collections Seminar Room at 6pm on Thursday, June 6. Dr Jonathan Troup’s journal comprises hundreds of pages of daily entries that detail his encounters with a world that was unlike any he had ever known. Troup was born in Aberdeen around 1764 and studied medicine in the city before emigrating to the Dominica in the West Indies in 1788, where he practised medicine until his return to Britain in 1791. Troup’s journal is a significant manuscript for understanding slavery in the West Indies.

Siobhán Convery, Head of Special Collections said: “Wanderlust features fascinating personal observations recorded in journals and letters, spanning 400 years, which highlight the diversity and range of the Special Collections. We’re looking forward to an engaging public programme showcasing the knowledge and expertise of staff at the University of Aberdeen, as well as the research and insight of visiting academics. The events are complimented by a series of Family Fun events running throughout the summer, offering creative activities for all ages.”

All of the events are free of charge, though booking is advised. Please email or call 01224 273049 for further information.