This 6-part mini-series explores art, activism and the women's movement in the UK in the 1970s and 80s. From early struggles for equal pay, to punk, Thatcher and the AIDS pandemic, this was a time of extreme social, economic and political change.
Join curator Linsey Young, as she hears from artists, makers and activists about how their radical ideas and rebellious methods changed the face of British culture and forged a path for future generations.
New episodes are released every Monday from 6 November – 11 December 2023.
Episode One: Ferocious and Magnificent
Curator Linsey Young journeys to the start of the Women's Liberation Movement and hears from women who were making work in the early 1970s.
Joined by artists, makers and activists, she explores how this generation came together to demand change and create new spaces to share their art.
From flour bombs to fly-posted propaganda, gallery installations to crocheted postal art, these women and their work forged a path for future generations.
Featuring Margaret Harrison, members of See Red Women’s Workshop (Pru Stevenson, Suzy Mackie and Anne Robinson), Su Richardson and Stella Dadzie.
Artworks Explored in Episode One
Episode two: There’s something not right here
In this episode, curator Linsey Young hears from women who were making work in the 1970s that commented on their roles in the family and in the home. From performing as a pregnant bunny girl in a cage at an agricultural show, to baking a life-sized family in a mobile home, their wildly original work received no attention in the art press.
She also uncovers the origins of the Women’s Art Library in the late 1970s, when art history was almost exclusively male, and contemporary women artists faced an extremely challenging environment.
Featuring Su Richardson, members of See Red Women’s Workshop (Pru Stevenson, Suzy Mackie and Anne Robinson), Shirley Cameron, Bobby Baker, Gee Vaucher and Felicity Allen.
Experience a 2023 replica of Bobby Baker’s An Edible Family in a Mobile Home at Tate Britain 8 November – 3 December 2023 and 8 March – 8 April 2024.
Artworks Explored in Episode Two
Episode three: Transgression
In episode three, curator Linsey Young investigates how the independent music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s liberated women from the expectations of the time.
Joined by artists, musicians, writers and activists, she discovers how punk and industrial music created a space for women to express themselves on their own terms.
From self-publishing fanzines and forming all-women bands, to creating art in response to sex-work, they challenged ideas about what a woman should be, and explored issues of sexuality, power and control.
Please note, this episode contains references to self harm at 03:35 – 04:10, sexual assault and rape at 10:44 – 11:21 and 41:10 – 43:00, racist violence at 13:43 – 14:50 and sex work at 29:05 – 43:50.
Artworks Explored in Episode Three
Episode Four: “We need to change the course!”
In episodes four and five, curator Linsey Young hears from women activists and artists of colour about their experiences and work in the 1970s and 80s.
In this episode, she learns about how women mobilised against racism and discrimination, and how artists challenged how art history was being taught.
From involving lecturers in performances that challenged the Euro-centricity of art history to creating installations celebrating women artists of colour, they demanded greater visibility and opened up conversations about race, gender and colonialism in art.
Featuring Nina Edge, Stella Dadzie, Sutapa Biswas and Marlene Smith.
Please note, this episode contains references to police violence at 21:13 – 22:00.
Episode five: A Time of Possibility
In episode five, curator Linsey Young finds out about group exhibitions by women of colour in the 1980s.
Joined by artists and curators, she explores how their shows made women of colour visible and expressed the politics and realities of their experiences.
From ‘CopyArt’ based on photographic self-portraits, to a giant avenging hindu goddess Kali, their work challenged stereotypes and was variously celebratory, sorrowful, satirical and urgent.
Please note, this episode contains references to police violence at 14:28 – 19:30 and hate speech at 28:42 – 29:18.
The Women in Revolt! podcast series was made possible by the generous support of Lubaina Himid.
Concept by Linsey Young. Research, interviews, recording, editing and production by Rosie Oliver for Tickertape Productions. Sound by Chris Maclean. Music from White Mice by Mo-dettes.
Banner image: Melanie Friend Greenham Protest 1984, reprinted 2023 Format Photographers Archive, Bishopsgate Institute