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Winchester School of Art: Legislation inspires art

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Art, History, Outreach, Politics

A guest post by Georgina Estill...

I’m Georgina Estill, a third year Graphic design student at WSA. I undertook the external Parliamentary archives brief, in which we were challenged to represent the historic archival information through contemporary visual language whilst respecting the content of the material and its place in history. I drew parallels between historic and contemporary female campaigning/marches with the main narrative being to get your voice heard.

                 Georgina Estill

I produced a campaign pack which contains a poster series, manifesto style zine, leaflet, postcards and stickers. During my research I found that although we have universal enfranchisement, less than half of the younger citizens vote. Using Suffragette history and the Representation of the People Act 1918 to communicate the importance of our enfranchisement, my campaign aims to engage more young people (18-24 years old), girls especially, with using their vote and to furthermore promote the Parliamentary Archives. My key research elements include a feminist manifesto by Mina Loy, the geek manifesto by Mark Henderson, photography of Suffragette campaigners and the Suffragette banner held at the archives for reference on protest graphics. These informed the aesthetic output and punchy tone of my final outcome.

Suffragette Banner, Parliamentary Archives, HC/SA/SJ/3/1

I chose screen-printing for the purpose of mass-producing the poster series, where I found that through experimenting, I could achieve a beautiful gradient between the suffragette’s colours. I worked on a purely typographical basis as I believe the protest graphics speak for themselves- There is an abundance of emotive/hard hitting suffragette photography out there yet I chose not to include any because the principle of suffragette history had already informed my project in the drawing of contemporary parallels. I looked to the suffragette banner held at the archives for typographic inspiration; I used English Grotesque for headings as it emulates their banners and Mrs Eaves for the body copy, a variant of Baskerville and given a female name.

      Example of poster artwork

Laws change for a reason; the parliamentary archives ensure we keep track of how society has progressed. I see the Representation of the people Act as the first big step towards a true democracy in the UK; it enfranchised all men over 21 and women over 30 with specific land requirements. I believe more young girls should be aware of this act and the campaigning/suffering women went through to achieve it.
My campaign, based around a manifesto style zine, is titled We’ve come a long long way together. This is a popular culture reference to Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise you’, a contemporary tool that incites recognition among the younger generation— the track talks of celebrating how far we’ve come despite difficult circumstances. I would distribute these packs after music events in order to reach my target audience.

                  Manifesto style zine

Adopting the suffragette’s visual language from their banners (heavy sans serif display faces with centre alignment & their tricolour scheme of green, white and purple) allows me to portray information of historical importance alongside my personal opinions within the manifesto styled zine, drawing contemporary parallels from suffragette campaigning. My ultimate goal is to get more young women to vote and wanting to find out more about the Representation of the people Act and the Parliamentary Archives.

                             Campaign pack

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