Posted by: helenrobertsbradford | August 23, 2010

Art for art’s sake

This post picks up the thread of art and design which winds through the history of the peace movement and its archives.  From the original 1958 designs by Gerald Holtom for the nuclear disarmament symbol, to the artwork created by Greenham women in the 1980s to decorate the base and promote their cause, I have found many visual and creative archives during the project.

nuclear disarmament symbol designs

Nuclear disarmament symbol designs, 1950s-1980s

One of the ways to trace this is to look at how the design of the nuclear disarmament symbol changes over time as it is adopted and adapted by different groups.  Another is to compare the leaflets, posters and newsletters created by anti-nuclear groups in the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s.  A shift from text to images takes place, and from black and white to colour.  The strong use of feminist imagery by activists at Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp is shown in posters by peace activist Katrina Howse and photographs of banners made by the women at the camp.

Banner at Greenham Common

Banner at Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, August 1983

Protest artwork found in the Peace News archive by artists such as Donald Rooum, Paul Piech and Bernard Power Canavan contrasts with the documentary record of important photographers of the peace movement, such as Viv Kendon.  The use of advertising to spread the disarmament message to the wider public is shown in Margaret Gardiner‘s designs for a campaign in Nottingham in 1962.

There are many other examples in the archives which bring alive the story of the British nuclear disarmament movement and have helped to make the PaxCat Project a success.

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