A green a white tea set


Sylvia Pankhurst: art and activism

Hosted by the LSE Library

Online public event, United Kingdom


Dr Rachel Holmes

Dr Naomi Paxton


Dr Debbie Challis

Best known for her suffrage activism, Sylvia Pankhurst campaigned on almost all the political struggles of the early twentieth century: for peace, for the rights of working people, for safe maternity care and against fascism and imperialism. She was also an exceptional artist, whose activism influenced her creativity.

Rachel Holmes, acclaimed author of Sylvia Pankhurst. Natural Born Rebel, talks to Dr Naomi Paxton about Sylvia’s extraordinary work, including her designs for the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). One of the most iconic objects in The Women’s Library collection at LSE Library is the WSPU tea set, which features Sylvia’s ‘logo’ so why not make yourself a cup of tea and join us online for this conversation?

Live closed captioning is available at this event.

Dr Rachel Holmes is the author of Eleanor Marx: A Life (2014), serialised on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize. New editions of her biographies The Secret Life of Dr James Barry (2002) and The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Sarah Baartman (2006) were published in 2021. She co-edited Virago’s Fifty Shades of Feminism and I Call Myself A Feminist. During her academic career, Rachel held lectureships at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Sussex, was a visiting lecturer at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and Visiting Literary Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford.

Dr Naomi Paxton is a performer, writer, broadcaster, and researcher. In 2013 Naomi edited The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays (Bloomsbury) which launched at a Platform event at the National Theatre entitled Suffragettes on Stage. In 2018 her monograph Stage Rights! The Actresses' Franchise League, Activism and Politics 1908-1958 was published by Manchester University Press and she edited a second collection of suffrage plays with Bloomsbury entitled The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays: Taking the Stage, which launched at the National Theatre as part of the Courage Everywhere season.

The British Library of Political and Economic Science (@LSELibrary) was founded in 1896, a year after the London School of Economics and Political Science. It has been based in the Lionel Robbins Building since 1978 and houses many world class collections, including The Women's Library.


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