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Dr Harriet Atkinson

Jane Dibblin

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Gavin Henderson

Art on The Streets:
Creating Hope from the Depths of War.

A Key Moment in the History of John Lewis.

Saturday May 4th, 10am
The Sir Bernard Miller Centre, Odney

The John Lewis Partnership, the host of this event, and many others at this year’s festival, has a rich history, some of it surprising.

Art on the Streets is a documentary film which centres on For Liberty, an exhibition mounted in 1943 in the bombed-out John Lewis department store on London’s Oxford Street.  Created by the anti-fascist artists’ collective, Artists International Association, this audacious show aimed to demonstrate the values people were fighting for. Central to the exhibition were many artists who had recently arrived in Britain having fled the Nazi threat.


It follows some of the artists who took part, including Oskar Kokoschka, Peter Laszlo Peri, Betty Rea and designer F. H. K. Henrion. It explores art’s role in providing a voice, a platform and a meeting point in the midst of conflict, issues that have particular resonance in today’s world.

Gavin Henderson, the Heritage Services Manager of the John Lewis Partnership will look at the history of the Oxford Street store, and recount the events of the night of 18th September 1940 when it was totally destroyed by enemy bombing.


Art on the Streets is created by University of Brighton design historian Dr Harriet Atkinson and filmmaker Jane Dibblin with film charity Four Corners, and they will introduce and discuss the film, both its making and the story it tells.   

Harriet Atkinson is a historian of art, design and visual culture at the University of Brighton, Jane Dibblin is a filmmaker and Producer and the Executive Producer and Head of Development at The Talent Manager.

The John Lewis Heritage Centre is at Grove Farm, Odney Lane, Cookham, and is open to the public every Saturday , 10am - 4pm (last entry 3:45pm)

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