Exploring the Political Poster in Britain
Exhibition People's History Museum Manchester
12 November 2011 - 17 June 2012
Centre of British Politics former PhD student Chris Burgess curated an exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. Chris' PhD, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded collaboration between Nottingham and the Museum, was on the history of the British political poster. The exhibition enabled him to present his research direct to the public.
Renowned posters such as Labour isn’t Working (1979), mixed alongside less well-known examples and the exhibition includes examples from the People’s History Museum collection, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Gallery Oldham, the London School of Economics, and the University of Essex.
The Times Higher Education reviewed the exhibition and gave it their vote as pick of the week. The BBC History magazine included some of the posters on their website and Kevin McGuire, of the Mirror, also wrote a piece. Locally the exhibition was featured in the Manchester Evening News, Manchester Confidential and Creative Tourist.
Alongside impressive visitor numbers, the press coverage of the exhibition was very encouraging. Times columnist and former MP Matthew Parris opened the exhibition – and he subsequently recommended it in his column. The journalist Ben Wright from Radio 4's Today interviewed Chris, and the show featured a slide show on their website.
The exhibition marked the public output of a long-term collaboration between the centre and the museum. Aside from Chris Burgess' contribution, Steven Fielding and Phil Cowley wrote blog posts about specific posters, which are available on the museum website. Laura Beers of the American University in Washington D.C. also made a similar contribution.
The relationship between the Centre and the Museum demonstrates the possibilities of collaboration. Chris enjoyed access to a huge archive of un-researched material, greatly benefiting his own work.
The benefits for the Museum have been a much greater understanding of a significant part of its collection. The exhibition gave Chris the opportunity to present his research to the public and provided the Museum with an exhibition of interest to museum visitors and the media alike.