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Challenging perceptions of Communism in Britain and beyond

Challenging perceptions of Communism in Britain and beyond

15 March 2016

Lancashire District Communist Party, around 1948. Papers of Monty Johnstone @ People's History Museum

9 June 2016, British Communism and Commitment day school @ People's History Museum. Young Communist League pamphlet, around 1965. Papers of Monty JohnstoneThe People’s History Museum is delighted to be part of a new project with the University of Manchester to uncover previously inaccessible archive collections on leading figures in the Communist9 June 2016, British Communism and Commitment day school @ PHM. Minute book of the Branch Committee of the Oxford University Branch of the Communist Party 1948-1950. Papers of Monty Johnstone Party of Great Britain.

This Arts & Humanities Research Council funded project aims to challenge popular perceptions of Communism in Britain and beyond by focussing on Communism’s interventions across civil society (culture, education, media, science).

PHM will be cataloguing and opening to researchers the papers of three British Communists who emphasised the importance of civil society in politics; Monty Johnstone, John Attfield and Paul Olive.  Covering the 1945-1990 period, this new material will substantially enhance the internationally significant archive of the9 June 2016, British Communism and Commitment day school @ People's History Museum. 'Questions and answers on Communism' by J R Campbell, 1956. Papers of Monty Johnston Communist Party of Great Britain, held at the Labour History Archive & Study Centre at PHM.

Throughout the project we will be scrutinising the past and asking what, if anything, of 20th century Communism remains as a resource for progressive politics in the centenary year of the October Revolution.

Events & Publications:

  • A British Communism and Commitment day school at PHM on Thursday 9 June 2016 will bring together researchers and former Communist Party activists to analyse ideas of Communist commitment
  • Two exhibitions at PHM in 2017 will draw on these new collections and de-familiarise British Communism for the general public by highlighting its concerns, conflicts and contradictions9 June 2016, British Communism and Commitment day school @ People's History Museum. Kindergarten in the former USSR. Papers of Monty Johnstone
  • A range of new publications and a three day international conference at the PHM in June 2017 will broaden the geographical focus, analysing the relationship between Communism and civil society in the West

The project will run for 18 months.  Follow the PHM website, Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with key developments and events.

Arts & Humanities Research CouncilThe University of Manchester