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A snapshot of 1989

In this year at Warwick:

  • The Koan returns to Warwick having been sent away for conservation work. To meet the costs of this its creator Liliane Lijn put on sale seventy-five etchings of her new print Black Koan and donated the original.

  • Julia Offord is elected as Warwick’s first female Students Union President.

  • It is announced that the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Sir Shridath (Sonny) Surendranath Ramphal has been appointed Chancellor of the University, succeeding Lord Scarman.

  • Filming takes place on campus for a BBC drama (‘Virtuosi’) about a concert pianist John Ogden. The drama was set on an American campus – which Warwick stood in for.

  • The Prince of Wales flies in by helicopter to give a talk to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in his capacity as Patron.

  • The Arts Centre celebrates its fifteenth birthday.

  • The Head Gardener and his team of seven staff complete a massive planting of 30,000 spring flowering bulbs on campus. It took five weeks to plant them all.

Tessa Beaver is a printmaker and painter based in Leamington Spa. She studied at the Slade School of Art in the 1950s.

Her work has been extensively exhibited in this country and is included in many public, corporate and private collections. It has also featured in international exhibitions of printmaking in South Korea, Spain, Brazil, China, Poland, Italy and Holland.

This set of prints was commissioned in 1989 to commemorate Birmingham's centenary. For inspiration, Tessa Beaver turned to material she had gathered on extensive walks of the city's canals. She recognised that these waterways and the surrounding buildings, not only had a long and significant history in Birmingham's industrial evolution but were destined soon to change radically.

In her interpretation, she has reduced these urban landscapes to simple shapes and lines. Each print has a strong linear structure giving the image solidity and weight.

And in the world:

  • The Berlin Wall fell. East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to freely travel to West Germany for the first time in decades. The next day, celebrating Germans began tearing the wall down.
  • Nintendo begins selling the Game Boy.
  • The first episode of the Simpsons was aired in December 1989, the show is now on its 25th series.
  • The first of 24 Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites is placed into orbit.


Canal Bridge | Tessa Beaver

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Gibbet Hill campus in 1989