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Dr Harriet Atkinson

Art on The Streets
Harriet Atkinson and Jane Dibblin

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

Art on the Streets is a documentary created by University of Brighton design historian Dr Harriet Atkinson and filmmaker Jane Dibblin with film charity Four Corners.


The film 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.

The film is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council project ‘The Materialisation of Persuasion’ led by Dr Atkinson which investigates how exhibitions mounted from 1933 to 1953 in public spaces, from church halls to train stations, were designed to communicate messages of propaganda and resistance.

Harriet and Jane will introduce and discuss the film, and Gavin will consider its significance for the history of John Lewis.

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. Gavin Henderson is the archivist of the John Lewis Partnership and
the manager of the John Lewis Heritage Centre in Cookham.

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