Upcoming conference: Radical Print Cultures in the US South and the story behind the poster

The conference poster brings together academic research, grassroots printmaking, and emerging talent in art and design.

In this unique collaboration, Amanda Stafford of the School of History has worked with Coleg y Cymoedd in South Wales and Footprint Workers Cooperative in Leeds to create a striking riso-printed poster for the upcoming conference Radical Print Culture in the US South (15th February 2024). This event, focusing on the role of print culture in shaping social and political movements in the southern United States, is set to draw scholars from both history and literary studies.

Footprint Workers Cooperative is a Leeds-based collective known for its environmentally-friendly and community-oriented approach to printing. Footprint brought its artistic and technical expertise in riso printing to the project. The poster was designed by Evie Komduur, a Level 3 Art and Design student from Coleg y Cymoedd. Amanda Stafford, a Senior Lecturer at the college and a part-time PGR in School of History, worked with the college students and their lecturer Sarah Butterworth, on a live brief to research and design a riso printed poster to promote the conference.

Riso printing has a unique aesthetic that blends the feel of screen printing with the efficiency of digital printing and was particularly suited to this project. Its lo-fi quality taps into the 'do-it-yourself' ethos that has often characterised radical print culture. The poster, therefore, is not just a promotional tool but a symbolic representation of the conference's theme, embodying the spirit of innovation and resistance that has defined radical movements in the United States.

This collaboration highlights the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding complex historical and cultural events. It shows the value of combining academic research with the practical, creative skills of local communities to produce work that is both informative and visually compelling.

As the conference approaches, Evie’s poster is set to become a focal point, serving not only as a beacon for attracting a diverse audience but also as a tangible example of the power of collaborative, creative projects in bringing history to life.