Between the summer of 1968 and 1971, workers on strike, civil rights groups, and liberation movements could simply walk in and commission a silkscreen poster from a collective known as the Poster Workshop, in a small basement at 61 Camden Road, London.
It had been inspired by the Atelier Populaire in Paris, France, which had spurred from the occupation of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in May 1968. The idea was that urgent posters could be designed and printed quickly using the cheap, easy, and fast production method in order to respond to critical political and social matters, whether relating to Vietnam, Northern Island, South Africa, housing, workers’ rights, or revolution.
Published just in time to celebrate this year’s International Workers Day (May Day), Poster Workshop 1968-1971 by Poster Workshop and released by Four Corners Books reproduces all of the surviving prints, which together provide a distinctive perspective on the issues that activists focused on in 1960s and 1970s Britain. As the publishers point out, many of the topics of concern highlighted by the Poster Workshop still resonate today. A collection of work from the book will also be on display at Tate Britain from May 7.
Today, Four Corners Books takes us through some of the boldest posters produced by the workshop during hugely a prolific period.