Banners are both material objects and powerful, palpable slices of history – vivid portraits of the ideas and aspirations of the individuals or group they represent. They come in many different types, as well as shapes and sizes; from DIY, rapidly-produced strips of cloth carrying charged slogans at rallies and protests, to carefully crafted works-of-art that organisations commission as long-standing visual symbols of their core identity and values.
At over 400-strong, the People’s History Museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of historic trade union and political banners. Every year, a new selection of 25 banners is displayed, following conservation from in-house experts. As part of the museum’s year-long programme of exhibitions and events marking the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (when all men and some women obtained the right to vote), the new selection of banners, all actively used by campaigners and protesters, gives a vivid account of the slogans and philosophies that were integral to the women’s suffrage movement, as well as other campaigns for representation.
Among the curated selection, visitors will have the chance to see a number of key historic women’s rights banners. The display will also cover more recent examples, including a banner created by Thalia Campbell for the iconic Greenham Common protest (one of the longest and most famous examples of feminist protest in recent history). And the International Women’s Day Quilt, created in 2010 by a collective of over 300 people, including students from Manchester Metropolitan University.
This event forms part of Wonder Women 2018.