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Picturing Politics – exploring the political poster in Britain

Picturing Politics – exploring the political poster in Britain

During 20th century elections, political posters wallpapered our streets, providing political parties an opportunity to ‘speak’ to the masses. Despite the onset of digital technology, posters still provided some of the resonant images of the 2010 election.

12 November 2011 — 17 June 2012

The Only Hope is Tariff Reform Poster

Displaying over 60 iconic examples, this exhibition explores the development of the poster and examine one of the key aspects of our democracy: how parties speak to the people and crucially, how this communication has changed. The exhibition showcases the museum’s unique poster collection which is the largest in the UK, including examples from all the major political parties.

Extensive research by exhibition curator and PhD student Chris Burgess enables the exhibition to illustrate for the first time how some of these significant posters developed from the original concept of the party leader to the final image. The exhibition displays the process of poster design, from initial idea, through preliminary artwork, to final product.  The thematic displays demonstrate how the treatment of some subjects has changed dramatically over the period, for example, the depiction of women. Conversely it also highlights how other subjects remain constant, such as representations of the leader.

As well as enjoying the visual spectacle of these striking posters, visitors will be inspired to make up slogans and create their own posters or even feature in a poster themselves.

The research for this exhibition is part of an ongoing collaboration between the People’s History Museum and the University of Nottingham and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Photograph service

Many of the posters featured in this exhibition are available as high resolution digital images through our Photograph service.  For information on charges and how to order an image email phil.dunn@phm.org.uk.

Picturing Politics Blog

To keep up to date with the ongoing research on political posters, background information on some of the individual posters and the odd sneak preview of material, visit the blog written by Chris Burgess http://picturingpolitics.wordpress.com/.

Picturing Politics short film

To watch a short film featuring Chris Burgess talking about his research and to learn more about some of the posters featured in the exhibition visit the AHRC website.

More information

Below is addtional information about some of the posters featured in the exhibition.  Click on the titles below to find out more.

After the War

Labour for Security

Let’s Go with Labour

People Power