Photo: Wai King Jeffcoat
The panel discussion with Dr Melanie Horton included the implications of images shown in the Empire Board posters for non-British citizens and residents in UK
Dr. Horton outlined the main history and current issues of the time and led the question and answer session to draw out the complex issues and reactions. The discussion raised huge interest among members of the public in the audience, who were able to engage with the views of non-British citizens and residents now living in UK.
Congratulations to the six members of the panel who were volunteers from the groups participating in the project. Speaking in a second language, they were articulate in the way they offered their views on some of the complex issues and about the feelings which the images aroused in them.
Members of the audience joined in to contribute their response to seeing the posters for the first time with several speakers saying they had felt anger at some of the images – though they were considered acceptable at the time they were made. One person clearly spoke from the heart in relating the attitudes behind the images to the racism she has been aware of all her life growing up in this country.
The discussion included questions of who’s gaze was engaged by the stylised images and formats used in the posters, now seen in this exhibition for the first time since the brief period of their use as peacetime propaganda in the 1920′s – 30′s.
Certainly, there is a potent opportunity for this exhibition to raise public discussion on these issues at a deeper level than is normally the case outside academic or special interest groups. I hope this will be the case.
Dr Melanie Horton, Manchester Metropolitan University
Researcher, Writer, Associate Lecturer, Museums, Arts and Heritage
PhD – Empire Marketing Board Posters collection
‘Art Bites’ - weekly discussions at Manchester Art Gallery