Feminism in Camden in the 1970s and 80s
Date: 25 Mar 2019 - 30 Apr 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 pm.
Location: Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL, United Kingdom.
The exhibition explores feminist activism through posters from Women's Liberation Workshops in the borough and how the arts and especially theatre contributed to the local feminist scene. Its focus is on Camden, but its resonance is much wider. Camden was at the heart of the emergence of the early WLM: the Women's Liberation Movement in London with two of the earliest WLM groups in the country set up in 1969 in Belsize Lane and in Tufnell Park, on the Camden/ Islington border. Both followed a radical, alternative, left-wing politic, influenced by existing campaigns such as Vietnam Solidarity. The Belsize Lane group were central to the organisation of the first WLM conference at Ruskin College in 1970 and the publication of The Body Politic. For many the movement transformed their lives and future focus. They went on to set up a community nursery, artists' co-ops, and feminist newspapers including Shrew and Red Rag.
Fifty years on the exhibition celebrates the work of those early groups, and the posters they created in support of the first WLM march in 1971, the first to mark International Women's Day in Britain since its founding in 1909. It also explores the importance of feminist theatre in the borough, where the extensive squatting scene, including arts centres, community hubs, artist's studios and printshops, as well as homes, enabled the growth of numerous alternative theatre companies including many feminist groups. Some remain active like Kentish Town-based Clean Break, working with women ex-offenders to provide training and create plays about their experience. The exhibition features a poster for the first WLM play staged in Britain Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven by Jane Arden was staged at the Arts Lab Drury Lane in February 1969, along with posters celebrating later areas of activism including the campaign to get more women into manual trades and support for the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp.
Category: Arts | Visual Arts | Galleries / Art.
Artists / Speakers: Dr Susan Croft.
Back to calendar