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A Soviet Design for Life : the Catherine Cooke Collection of 20th-Century Russian Architecture and Design


Detail from 'Skol'ko millionov golodnykh? Desiat'!' by Vladimir Maiakovskii in 'Russkii revoliutsionnyi plakat' (Polonskii, 1925). CCA.54.27.

From July 2012 to April 2013, the University Library put on an exhibition which promoted the extraordinary collection built up over decades by the late Catherine Cooke, using material from the collection to look at the Soviet century through design. Planned by the Library's Slavonic specialist with advice from academic colleagues in the Departments of Slavonic Studies and History of Art, A Soviet Design for Life featured the monumental and the everyday, from plans for Stalinist skyscrapers to food packaging from the Brezhnev era. For information about the related academic conference Design without Frontiers which took place in September 2012, please click here.

For further information about the exhibition and the Catherine Cooke collection, please use the links below.

  • For more detailed information about the exhibition and its contents, please follow this link to its main page on the Library's website. There you can find links to the texts of the wall panels in the exhibition centre and of the captions which accompany the individual exhibits.
  • The University's press release about the exhibition can be found here.
  • To read more about the Catherine Cooke collection in general, please click here.

In addition, Library features written in connection with the exhibition and collection are linked to below.

  • Detection and discovery in the Catherine Cooke collection: click here to read about items involving Rerikh (Roerich), a Soviet purge, Stalin and the pioneers, and a family connection made across the Revolution.
  • The history of a Soviet poster : click here to find out the extraordinary story of one exhibit, its artist, and his family.