A new exhibition at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) will celebrate 50 years since the first women’s liberation conference (Oxford, February 1970) and the first UK meeting of the Gay Liberation Front (at LSE, October 1970).
The exhibition, which will run from 20 January to 3 April 2020 in LSE’s Library, will explore how both movements mobilised thousands to believe they could change the world through speaking out and challenging the status quo.
Using material from The Women’s Library collection and the Hall-Carpenter Archives - both based at LSE - the exhibition will showcase significant original documents from the first women’s liberation conference.
Other items on display will include women’s liberation posters, photographs of demonstrations, press statements, newspaper clippings and leaflets on topics including the promotion of non-sexist language.
Material resulting from the first UK meeting of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which was held at LSE and inspired by the Stonewall Riots in New York, will also be available. This includes the first GLF manifesto, a list of demands and posters promoting future meetings.
The items on display will illustrate how activists used and transformed publishing, performance and visual imagery around gender.
Commenting on the exhibition, Curator for Equality, Rights and Citizenship at LSE, Dr Gillian Murphy said: “This new exhibition provides an exciting opportunity to find out more about women’s liberation and gay liberation in the 1970s and 80s. Visitors will have the chance to celebrate the progress made by both movements and understand better the cultural impact both movements made on the world.
“LSE has a special relationship with the Gay Liberation Front, with the first GLF meeting taking place in a classroom in LSE’s St Clements building. Founder member Bob Mellors was also an LSE student. This longstanding connection to the School makes LSE the perfect place to mark this important anniversary.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a series of events that reflect on the need for these liberation movements 50 years ago and the social purpose of archives in issues of representation around gender, race and sexuality today. Talks will include those given by Professor Margaretta Jolly (Sussex/British Library), Arike Oke (Director of the Black Cultural Archives) and Rachel Crossley (Director of the Museum for East End Women).
Visit the LSE website for more for more information about the exhibition, Social Revolution: women’s liberation and gay liberation in the 1970s and 80s.