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Radical Design in Action: The Suffragettes

Protest design becomes more popular each day, more relevant to everybody and everyday life. Digital technology offers more creative kinds of protest with powerful graphic languages emerging as a response to current financial and political crises. This talk shows that many of the methods of modern protest design can be traced directly back to the Suffragettes. Over a century ago they revolutionised the political landscape of their time, creating a related visual language and even new tools in order to facilitate it.

This was the first of four Radical Design in Action seminars organised by the Industrial Workers of the World in London at 88 Fleet Street, Mayday Rooms next to Saint Bride Library. The aim of these seminars is not to see design as technique, but to understand how radical design can grow out of an active engagement in social movements. In my talk i presented WSPU’s visual communication methods under Sylvia Pankhurst’s direction and the impact they had on the development of the movement.

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