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Steffi Ibis Duarte

MA work

Agents of the Struggle: Posters by the ANC in Exile and European Solidarity Movements Against South African Apartheid, 1960-90

This dissertation considers the role of posters produced by the African National Congress (ANC) in exile, and solidarity organisations throughout Europe, in the global struggle against South African apartheid (1960–90). Though posters as activist practices are a popular topic among art and design historians, these scholars have not yet explored anti-apartheid posters produced geographically outside of South Africa.  Likewise, existing anti-apartheid histories have either marginalised these posters as mere illustrations or ignored them altogether.

In response this dissertation aims to assert the power of the poster in global networks, expound design history methodology, and join a new wave of scholarship that conceptualises the struggle as a global and multi-linked movement. This dissertation therefore relies on new primary research to piece together a yet uncovered history. My research combines existing secondary sources with new object-analysis, archival research and oral histories with activists and makers across the globe.  Through mobilising concepts such as object agency and Actor Network Theory, it finds that posters materialise the global struggle against South African apartheid in ways that current scholarship cannot, and should not, ignore.


  • Steffi Duarte
  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA History of Design, 2014


    Modern and Contemporary

  • My commitment to researching and curating modern and contemporary design stems from a larger occupation with how art and design enacts and acts the ideologies, characteristics, and desires of its makers and users.   

    For the past two years my  work has centered on the role of material culture in the global struggle against South African apartheid.    My research interests also include contemporary craft, graphic design,  paper-based curation and the history of photography. 


  • Degrees

  • BA with dual majors in Art History and Financial Economics, University of Rochester, New York, USA, 2011
  • Experience

  • Windgate Museum Internship, Disobedient Objects, V&A, London, 2014–present; Research Assistant [OPA], V&A, London, 2014–present; Column Co-editor, 'Craft, Technology & Productions', Unmaking Things, 2013–present; Student Representative - Class of 2014, History of Design MA, V&A/RCA, 2012–present ; Student Representative, V&A/RCA History of Design MA, V&A/RCA, 2012–present
  • Awards

  • Windgate Museum Intern for Disobedient Objects, Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, 2014; Victoria & Albert Museum Travel Grant, 2013
  • Conferences

  • ‘With Every Stitch’, The Subversive Stitch Revisited, Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths' College, University of London, and Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, 2013; ‘All Good Starts at Home’, Centre for Studies of Home, Geffrye Museum and Queen Mary, University of London, 2013
  • Publications

  • Contributing author, 'Disobedient Objects' blog, V&A Blogs, 2014–present; Contributing author, 'Craft, Technology & Productions' column, Unmaking Things 2013–2014; 'Tales that photographers can tell', V&A magazine, no. 21, 2013, pp.12-13