University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections


Events archive

Past Events

The Special Collections Division, of the University Library, regularly engages and showcases its collections, through either collaborative projects with University Schools and Units or external organisations/institutions, or through its own programme of outreach and advocacy activities.

We have organised exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, treasures tours and hands-on workshop activities that have allowed us the opportunity to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for the breadth and beauty of the items under our care.

Please visit the pages within this section to read about the exciting projects we have been proud and priviledged to take part it.

Poles Apart: Changing opinions on whaling in the 20th century

Discovery Committee logo

This exhibition has come out of the cataloguing project 'Taming the Leviathan' which looked at the archives of the Discovery Committee held in Special Collections. These were scientific papers of the biologists sent out to the Antarctic to monitor and investigate the whaling industry in the Southern Oceans. Using extracts from these papers, and those of  D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson,  professor of Zoology at St Andrews University, we have put together an exhibition which charts the views for and against whaling from the end of the Dundee Arctic whaling industry through the exploitation of new whale stocks in the Antarctic. It shows how public and scientific opinion started to turn against the extermination of these wonderful creatures as populations dwindled. 

You can view an interview with archivist Fiona Menzies talking about the exhibition, and there are also creative workshops for adults to participate in. 


Creative writing with Jen Rinterknecht, 2nd May 11-1

Through pictures, sounds, and words we will explore our own fascination with whales as well as look at how people across the world have feared, revered and exploited whales through time. Come with pencil and paper! 


Portrait workshop with Judith Heald, 10th May 11-1

Make a portrait in pastels or charcoal from old photographs of the whaling men. Try out pastel techniques, look at light and shade, and listen to the stories of the whaling days and music while we draw the portraits. All materials provided.


The exhibition is on at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther until 31st May.