I Don't Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work

Portrait of Margaret Calkin James by Alva Skog (2017); Royal Tournament poster by Margaret Calkin James (1932)

Portrait of Margaret Calkin James by Alva Skog (2017); Royal Tournament poster by Margaret Calkin James (1932)

 ’I Don’t Know Her Name, But I Know Her Work’, is an exhibition of work by past and present students of graphic design at Central Saint Martins. New work is exhibited alongside historical works by female designers from the CSM Museum & Study Collection and the display is on public view at the college entrance (from December 2017 to February 2018). The name of the exhibition reflects the oft-heard observation about graphic design work from the past by women that it seems familiar yet the name of the designer is not. Along with making new work, students researched the careers of the historical female designers and wrote extended captions about their own work and the work from the museum. 

The female designers chosen from the museum had all designed posters for London Transport, and the initial idea for 'I Don't Know Her Name...' was in response to the current London Transport museum exhibition ‘Poster Girls: 100 Years of Art and Design’ which showcases London Transport posters designed by women. But these women had many other significant clients between them, such as the BBC, the Curwen Press, Penguin Books, the Post Office and Shell. The designers featured were Freda Lingstrom, Dora Batty, Enid Marx, Mary Kessell, Dorothy Hutton, Margaret Calkin James, “Herry” Perry and Claire Leighton.

The exhibition has given the participants an expanded set of graphic design references from the period covered to include female designers and encouraged them to produce critical work with a creative and positive outcome. It allowed them to work with the incredible archive held by the Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection, and their staff. The Museum & Study Collection plan to collect the current students work from the exhibition when the exhibition closes.

There is a blog post about the exhibition on the Central Saint Martins website.