The Collective Production of Radical Politics in Print: Libertarian Culture and Publishing in the 1970s
My research examines the relationship between political ideology and printed publications through a study of the radical press in 1970s Britain. The text focuses on published material, social relationships and the political context surrounding the publications, in order to examine different ways in which political thought influenced the production of printed material.
The narrative argues that democratic and non-hierarchical organisation and production practices, frequently adopted by groups of the libertarian Left to operate consistently with their political values, determined experimental approaches to writing, editing, and design.
The research presents different ways in which ideology, group organisation and the form and content of printed publications are inextricably linked. These relationships emerge from an analysis of journals and pamphlets published by the political group Big Flame and sample issues of the radical magazine The Leveller. Internal documents produced by the groups, as well as oral interviews with former members, were also explored, and provided further insights.
Crucial to the development of the radical press in the 1970s was increasing access to printing technology, thanks to the availability of small-scale offset lithography and electric typewriters, and the emergence across the Left political spectrum of a range of autonomous groups active outside political parties. Looking at two histories continuing side by side, one of publishing and one of political activism, this dissertation intends to offer an original contribution to the history of graphic design — a history characterised by participation and non-professionalism, and therefore located outside the territory of traditional graphic design histories.
School of Arts & Humanities
MA History of Design, 2018
After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2009, Guglielmo worked as a graphic designer for a number of studios in London and NYC. Since 2012 he works independently and more recently under the pseudonym Bandiera, together with a range of collaborators on a variety of print and digital projects. Guglielmo is M9 Design’s associate on the book design and research project 'The Murty Classical Library of India', a multilingual book series published by Harvard University Press. Since 2013 he is the designer of Urban Pamphleteer, a series of publications confronting contemporary urban questions from different perspectives, and published by the UCL Urban Laboratory. Between 2015 and 2016 Guglielmo was a visiting practitioner on the MA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins of Art and Design.
Guglielmo’s research explores the role of publications as disseminators of radical politics in 1970s Britain. Moving from his experience as a graphic designer, an interest in the relationship between form and content of publications, and in publishing as a form of knowledge production and dissemination — Guglielmo’s dissertation focuses on the interplay of politics and print. Looking at the social and technological context surrounding the production journals, pamphlets and printed material directed towards social emancipation and change.
- BA Graphic Design, University of the Arts, Central Saint Martins, 2009
- Urban Pamphleteer was selected as part of the touring exhibition Archizines, 2013
- The collective Production of Radical Politics in Print. Script, print, and letterforms in global contexts: the visual and the material, Birmingham City University, 2018