Into Print: See Red Women’s Workshop

Pru Stevenson, Suzy Mackie, Anne Robinson, Jess Baines

See Red Women’s Workshop (1974–1990) was a feminist screen-printing poster workshop in London, born out of the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement. It was set up by three ex-art students (Pru Stevenson, Suzy Mackie and Julia Franco), to create visually powerful posters that challenged negative media and cultural stereotypes of women and which responded to the growing multiplicity of feminist concerns such as cuts in welfare, housework, childcare, women’s heath issues, racism, nuclear weapons, sexuality and more. They also produced many posters for other women’s, campaigning and community groups. See Red worked collectively at all levels, from decision making through to production. During the lifespan of the workshop over 40 different women were involved, many of them learning to design and print on the job; throughout See Red was committed to skill sharing with other women. In this talk three ex-members, Pru Stevenson, Anne Robinson and Jess Baines will discuss the workshop’s history as well as the resurgence of interest in See Red and the more recent activities this has brought about, including the See Red book published last year by Four Corners (See Red Women’s Workshop: Feminist Posters 1974–1990).

After their talk Suzy, Pru, Anne and Jess will be joined by Claire Mason, designer of the book, Elinor Jansz and Richard Embray from Four Corners and Teal Triggs for a panel discussion chaired by Ruth Sykes.

Pru Stevenson studied fine art at St Martins in the early 60’s. She co-founded See Red 1974 and left in 1983. Following that she taught art at HMP Holloway and founded and directed the charity WISH (1987–96), a campaign and advocacy group working on behalf of women in secure psychiatric units. From 2000–2012, she co-ran an educational campaign for women in Jamaica, Ghana and Nigeria who are vulnerable to being coerced into trafficking drugs. In 2013 she started a charity enabling inner London children in economic or social need to have a holiday in the countryside. Pru has painted, drawn and made prints throughout this time.

Suzy Mackie was a co-founder of See Red, and also a part-time youth worker for 6 years. She left in 1982 to study community work full time. Suzy worked with Lambeth Women and Children’s Health Project for eight years running community groupwork programmes. She then worked with the NHS on sexual health promotion, HIV prevention projects and with vulnerable young women on the SHIP project. As the Family Planning Association Training Manager (1998–2005) her training on sex and relationships with young people in care was commended by the Teenage Pregnancy Unit. Whilst Training Manager at Fostering Network, she managed the development of national standards for foster carers: her work involving young care-leavers and foster carers in training delivery was recognised by the Childrens’ Workforce Development Council. Freelance from 2008, Suzy continued to work with foster carers, youth workers and young people’s peer mentoring projects.

Following her participation in See Red, Anne Robinson got involved in feminist/queer film and art collectives, including Wildtrax and Square Peg and studied film at St Martins. She currently teaches at Middlesex University and has a PhD on temporality and art. Based in east London, her art practice includes painting, film, sound and performance and remains politically engaged, including collaborations with the Comm(o)nist Gallery, Inspiral London and Rachael House’s Feminist Disco. Recent projects include: Thrashing in the Static, Over Time (2014) and Supernormal experimental arts festival.

After involvement in See Red, Jess Baines spent another decade working in various radical printshops in London. She later studied at Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmiths. Recently she has completed a PhD about the wider history of Britain’s late twentieth century radical printshops and written articles on the subject as well as contributing to various events including Arts Against the Cuts, Adhocracy, Performing Resistance, Enlarged Lives. She has worked at London College of Communication (LCC) since the early 2000s, starting as a screen-printing technician before going on to become a lecturer.

Richard Embray and Elinor Jansz established Four Corners Books in 2004 which publishes a small number of art and art history books each year. The Familiars series, which features artists’ responses to classic novels and short stories, was nominated for the Brit Insurance Design Awards 2011. Four Corners’ recent releases include See Red Women’s Workshop: Feminist Posters 1974–1990 and a new edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, accompanied by an LP of original music.

Claire Mason is is a book designer and typographer based in London. Previously, she has worked on public art commissions, taught the experimental typography course at LCC and has commissioned animations within London Transport Museum archives. She currently holds the post of Senior Text Designer within Penguin Books UK, where she engages in the deep craft of designing books through specification.

Ruth Sykes is the co-founder of graphics studio REG Design; Associate Lecturer in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins; and is currently studying for a Masters degree in the History of Design at the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum. Working in partnership with fellow designer and educator Emily Wood, Ruth’s studio practice includes work for clients such as The Crafts Council, Amnesty International and the V&A. At CSM Ruth’s teaching draws on her professional practice and her research into the history of graphic design. During Women’s History Month last year, Ruth curated the exhibition ‘A+: 100 years of graphic communication design by women at Central Saint Martins’ which included work from over 70 women who had taught or studied at the college.

Teal Triggs, is a Professor of Graphic Design and Associate Dean, School of Communication, Royal College of Art, London. She is also co-lead for the RCA’s Book Futures Lab. As a graphic design historian, critic and educator she has lectured and broadcast widely and her writings on design pedagogy, self-publishing, and feminism have appeared in numerous edited books and international design publications. Teal is Editor-in-Chief of Communication Design (Bloomsbury/ico-D) and is co-editor of Visual Communication (Sage). Her recent books include: co-editor with Leslie Atzmon of The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), author of Fanzines (Thames & Hudson), and the children’s book The School of Art (Wide Eyed) which was shortlisted for the ALCS 2016 Educational Writer’s Award. She is a Fellow of the International Society of Typographic Designers and the Royal Society of Arts.

Tickets £5 students/low-incomed/unwaged, £10 Friends of St Bride and concessions, £12.50 general admission

Dates & Times: Thur 04 May @ 7pm. Doors open 6.30pm

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