Norman McLaren (1914-1987)

Travels in China 1949

Norman McLaren

Born in Stirling in 1914, Norman McLaren studied set design at the Glasgow School of Art and, after working in London and New York, he moved to Canada in 1941. Here he began working for the National Film Board and also set up an animation studio. McLaren developed a variety of groundbreaking experimental animation techniques including developing a form of ‘camera-less animation’ by directly drawing onto film. His genius was recognised worldwide with a string of awards for his work including an Oscar for his short film Neighbours in 1953. While film was McLaren’s favourite medium he also produced paintings, pastels and screenprints in parallel with his film work. The University of Stirling holds the Norman McLaren archive (and several of his works are on permanent display in Pathfoot J corridor). 

In 1949 McLaren went to China for UNESCO to teach audiovisual methods to Chinese artists and witnessed the revolutionary change to a communist regime. Materials in the form of letters and sketches from his time in China form part of the University archive and some of these will be on display in Gallery 2 of the Pathfoot Building as part of this exhibition which ran until 23rd December 2015.

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