Louise Mayhew




University of New South Wales, Australia


As a PhD candidate at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, I am researching the history of female art collectives and collaborations in Australia c.1970_2010. Towards this research I have written on the emergence of Women_s Art Movement groups across Australia, the phenomenon of women-only political poster collectives, and contemporary duos and trios comprised of artist-sisters. The latest of these is soon to be published under the title _Sisterly Love_ in the upcoming book Collaboration Now (2011).
I keep myself busy as an Administrator for an Ethics Panel at UNSW, tutoring in the field of art history and theory, and writing for my blog Four Coloured Stripes: On art, feminism, life & cats.


Jill Posters Will Be Prosecuted: Australia's women-only print collectives from the 1970s and 1980s


The late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed a period of women only poster collectives in Australia. The posters produced by these collectives are anarchistic, celebratory, educational, sarcastic, utopian and witty. They advertise a plethora of sub-cultural events, groups and causes including dances, exhibitions and rallies, women's only sports clubs and radio programmes, and services such as women's drop-in and refuge centres. Bold and striking text is matched with deliberately feminine tones deploring violence against women and children, sexual harassment, unequal pay, and advocating gay and lesbian rights, access to contraception, equal opportunities and education for women. Although women only poster collectives operated according to the structure, concerns and aesthetics of other Australian poster collectives they have largely been erased from this history. Poster collectives emerged in Australia in the 1970s in response to worldwide, national and local events with calls for activism, anarchy and awareness. Posters were utilised as a cheap and efficient mode for advertising a broad range of radical opinions. Their quick production allowed for immediate comment on social and political events, whilst their distribution method, plastered onto telegraph poles, underpasses and construction site walls, enabled direct, uncensored access to the public. This paper unearths and examines women only poster collectives active in Australia during the 1970s and 19080s. It provides a succinct summation of the facts surrounding these collectives, establishing members and start and end dates, and expands into an understanding of why collectives formed, why membership was limited to women, and how collectives functioned. Groups examined in this paper include the Anarchist Feminist Poster Collective, Adelaide (1979-85); Bloody Good Graffix, Melbourne (c.1983-84); Garage Graphix, Sydney (1980-96); Harridan Screenprinters, Sydney (c.1981-88); Jillposters, Melbourne (1983-87) and the Women's Warehouse Screenprinting Collective, Sydney (c.197-'81).


Tuesday 27 September


3:30pm - 5.00pm






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