Jess Baines

Supervisor: Bart Cammaerts

Research topic: Radical & Community Printshops (UK), 1970s-1990s

The potential of contemporary accessible media technologies for the fostering of radical, contestatory discourses and actions is currently a source of much discussion and analysis, both within the academic field of media studies and beyond. Jess Baines’s research however, focuses on a previous historical phenomenon, absent from the literature of media studies; the network of radical and community printshops that proliferated across the UK (and elsewhere) between the late 1960s and early 1980s.  These collectively run workshops attempted to mobilise ‘accessible’ printing technology both to generate critical and cultural media for progressive social movements and community activists and to challenge the forms and practices of ‘mainstream’ media production and ownership. The almost wholesale disappearance of these printshops by the early 1990s — before internet based technologies had become widely adopted by UK-based activist media — raises a series of questions, relating to both the internal practices of the printshops and the wider fields (e.g. social movement, printing industry) in which they operated.

Research interests: social movements, alternative & radical media practices (especially with regard to print media), aesthetics and politics, alternative organisational structures, work/labour, co-operatives.

Jess Baines holds an MA in 20th Century Art History & Theory (2003) from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Since 2003 she has been a lecturer in the Faculty of Design at London College of Communications (LCC). She was a production worker (printer and/or pre-press) in various radical printing collectives over a period of 12 years, including Calverts Press|, one of the few that survives with its egalitarian structure intact, albeit with a somewhat different user base. She initiated and administers the open wiki|


Baines, J (2012) Experiments in Democratic Participation: feminist printshop collectives. Cultural Policy, Criticism and Management Research 6: 29-51

Baines, J (2010) Free Radicals Afterall Online|

Baines, J (2009) The Freedom of the Press Belongs to Those who Control the Press: The Emergence of Radical and Community Printshops in 1970s London. In N. Carpentier, P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, R. Kilborn, T. Olsson, H. Nieminen, E. Sundin and K. Nordenstreng (eds) Communicative Approaches to Politics and Ethics in Europe Tartu: Tartu University Press, pp113-127|| 

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