In Focus: Althea McNish

  • 16 July 2022
  • 11:00 - 15:30
  • Hybrid event with 'in person' and 'online' tickets available. Pay what you can (suggested donation of £10). Register here.

    Online attendees: Registrants will receive a detailed programme and Zoom link 2 days prior to the event.

    Lunch is not included but the Gallery cafe will be open and attendees are also welcome to bring their own lunch.

A closer look at the work of Caribbean designer Althea McNish and her significance to Twentieth Century Design. An event to accompany the exhibition, Althea McNish: Colour is Mine at the William Morris Gallery until 11 September 2022.

Join us at this special ‘In Focus’ series of talks by experts, discussing the legacy and impact of Althea McNish and her place in the history of British fashion, textiles and interior design. This in-person and online hybrid event includes an online tour of the Althea McNish exhibition and allows plenty of time to ask questions and discuss the themes.

Speakers include:

  • Rowan Bain, Principal Curator at William Morris Gallery and Co-Curator of Althea McNish: Colour is Mine — Overview of the Althea McNish exhibition. Discussing the development of the exhibition and the key themes and objects that are explored in the displays.
  • Rose Sinclair, Co-Curator of Althea McNish: Colour is Mine — “Colour shape and pattern are my medium of expression to produce spontaneous reaction.” Rose will explore McNish’s approach to colour, shape and pattern and the spontaneous reaction that is envisaged in her design work.
  • Anna Buruma, Archivist, Liberty - Althea McNish Designs for Liberty. Anna will reveal McNish’s work for Liberty, and her enduring legacy.
  • Sandra Shakespeare, Museum & Heritage Consultant and founder director of the Black British Museum Project - Space for Blackness: Black Artists' Power and Agency in the Museum. Sandra will discuss the representation of black artists and designers in museum collections and exhibitions. 
  • Dr Michael McMillan, Playwright, Writer, Artist and Scholar — Colour and pattern in the front room: A homage to Althea McNish. Michael will explore the creolised colouring and patterning in the front room, in response to the textile designs of McNish.
  • Sarah Ria Mursal, MA(RCA) History of Design, Lecturer and Production Designer/Art Director – Interior Design of Caribbean women in the home: The hidden history. Sarah will share her recent MA research investigating the hidden narratives of women in black British design and the homogenisation of Black culture in British history.
  • Alexis Shepherd, MA, Designer and friend of Althea McNish and her partner, John Weiss - The inheritance: Althea McNish and her legacy. Alexis will discuss Althea in the context of her style and technique; her early success at Liberty and Ascher; the creative commmunity she emerged from and those who came in her wake.



You can read more about the exhibition here.

Image: Althea McNish working on murals for P&O SS Oriana, 1959 © P&O HERITAGE