John Sunderland

The curated works of the author & artist

1999-2001 The British National Mountaineering Exhibition

The Rheged Centre/Penrith

Lake-District, England

Client: The British National Mountaineering Association


To provide Original concept, design, art direction, production design.

Oversee build and installation.


How to relating the broad national, international often heroic history of British Climbers in a confined space with no exterior views and a ceiling height under three meters!


Project Designer, writer


In a compact space, fifty percent permanent illustrated story/journey through time, incorporating artifacts from the permanent collection intimate historic sets and video narrative segments projected onto surfaces (like the fabric of tents) shot in mountainous locations.

The presenter was the DJ John Peel, who had a love of the adventure of climbing but had never climbed because as he was scared of heights! The theme of his narrative was “Why do you do it?” The sequence ended with a special presentation from inside an expedition tent blowing in the wind, of the 1953 Conquest of Everest. The tent was cooled to such an extent that visitors, who had been on their own virtual expedition throughout the exhibition, sat wrapped in blankets provided. John Peel presented this last video projected onto the moving wall of the shelter from a sleeping bag in a small tent in the Cairngorms where he interviewed George Band, one of the last surviving members of the 1953 expedition.

The other fifty percent of the exhibition was given over to a flexible space for short term exhibits about climbing, then a video area where young climbers got to talk about their passion for climbing and their experiences.

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