The Art of Activism

There were radical movements involved in feminism, squatting, anarchism and midwifery.

A retrospective of Lenthall Road Workshop radical visual imagery was put together by members of the Lenthall Road Workshop Collective and the Hackney Museum,  London UK,  and ran from 14 May – 31 August 2019 at the museum.(I would like to acknowledge the poster for this event is copyright Lenthall Road Workshop, and is not my creation.)

The community arts workshop was established by Chia Moan, Viv Mullett and Jennifer Spencer Smith, and then carried on by a succession of women.  With posters, protests, printing and photography classes, the collective made a unique contribution to the feminist and community arts movement.

Meticulously scanning hundreds of images from slides, I spent months immersed in the flavour of the times. They were tough times of shortages, outages, coalminers strikes, racism, the National Front and IRA bombings. There were radical movements involved in feminism, squatting, anarchism and midwifery.  Reclaim the Night  and Rock Against Racism were born.

Screenprinting, photography and activism were inextricably bound together in my London life. The Lenthall Road Workshop in East London was a hub of community arts enterprise from the 1970s to the 1990s.   We initiated and ran projects that specifically focused on women and girls, such as the Hackney Girls Project and also taught and supported a wide range of community-based groups to create and promote their own projects and causes.  Local theatre, unions, childcare, squatting and festivals were amongst the vast array of groups we supported.

We also created an adult alphabet book, called “A for ‘ackney.” At the time adults were in this hugely diverse borough were being taught English from children’s books.

After I came to Australia I carried on designing posters In Adelaide and set up a community print workshop in country South Australia.