Objects of Empowerment: Posters by the See Red Women’s Workshop
This dissertation focuses on the emergence of the See Red Women’s Workshop and analyses and discusses the production, design and impact of their political posters. In response to the emergence of the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) in Britain in 1970, the See Red Women’s Workshop was founded by Susan Mackie, Julia Franco and Pru Stevenson in London in 1974 and aimed to combat negative images of women in the media. The collective produced visual content that questioned the role of women in society and used it as political campaigning material to publicise the WLM. See Red’s posters arguably reflect a trajectory of the developing movement and highlight its importance through graphic expression. The posters identify the sources of women’s oppression and demonstrate links to the political and social contexts of the period.
In order to understand the posters and their relationship to today’s society it is crucial to explore their historical context. The collective aspect of the group’s work purposefully engendered feminist ideals and projected an additional political statement. In terms of graphic art that promotes social change, it is important to recognise its context in order to address its impact and the collective production of the See Red posters was a fundamental aspect of the workshop. The desire of the founding members to collectively produce posters in a non-hierarchical structure developed from their personal experiences of art school, which led to an attempt to overcome the idea of the individual creative genius in their own work. Through the production of posters and graphic ephemera the See Red Women’s Workshop campaigned for an end to the isolation of women’s personal lives and encouraged them to create and participate in women’s groups. The members of See Red actively contributed to the rise in social and political freedom of women during the late twentieth century. The See Red Women’s Workshop posters should be recognised as empowering contributions to feminist graphic design.
School of Arts & Humanities
MA History of Design, 2019
Catherine specialises in Women’s History and Graphic Design History and her dissertation analyses the emergence of the See Red Women’s Workshop in London during the early 1970s. It discusses their posters which publicised the Women’s Liberation Movement and explores feminist graphic design and the role of these posters in the history of political graphics.
- BA History, University of Nottingham, 2017