Between the History of Propaganda and the Propaganda of History

“Today many people are learning their real history for the first time…”

This sentence appeared in 1979 at the top of a poster about British colonialism in Zimbabwe. It was produced by a group of radical activists and propagandists, the Poster-Film Collective, as part of a series of called “Whose World is the World?” Their posters, which collaged together historical images with sharp explanatory texts, were widely disseminated, being sent out to schools and colleges, along with teaching materials. In response to producing materials that challenged the racism of “official histories” widely taught in schools, the Poster-Film Collective were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for incitement under the Race Relations Act. The collective continued to produce history posters throughout the 1980s, including a series on women’s history, from the witch-hunts, to campaigns for suffrage, to struggles within the contemporary family and consumer society (copies of which are held in the MDR Archive); and a series on the history of technology and the ideologies behind it.

This project takes its inspiration from these radical interventions. We will develop creative and collective responses to archival materials, producing new pieces of historical propaganda, while opening conversations about new forms of political education through engagement with the material histories of struggle.

Workshops and Scrapbooks

During this project we have been developing a scrapbook function on our archiving platform, based on web-to- publishing workflows and which will enable people to take clippings, recombine, annotate and export into a publication elements of our collections. We will collaborate with 0x2620 Berlin to deliver this function and work with the design collective Evening Class to create the UX design for the site. This kind of user-friendly design and interactive functionality will further make our digital archive more accessible to the public.

Through this functionality we will be creating an edition of 6 collaboratively designed digital archival scrapbooks through workshops around our digital archive platform leftove.rs. During the project we will be asking a number of social movement groups, organisations and individuals to co-produce scrapbooks along the following themes; rent strikes, radical spaces, health autonomy, people’s planning, prison abolition, and working class film and photography practices. These scrapbooks will then be available to browse or print from the website.

Find all events associated with this project here

This project is generously supported by the Rosa Luxemborg Stiftung
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