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[MANCHESTER] Keep Calm and Carry On: Visualising The People’s War in Posters

June 29, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


As part of the Visual Culture Research Group at MMU, I, and another colleague, will be giving informal 20 minute presentations based on works in progress + 20+ mins for Q&A. My abstract is:

three-mugsIn 2016, the tourist gift shops are full of mugs, aprons, bags with the slogan ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, or one of its many subverted versions. The poster was part of a series designed in 1939 for the Second World War, but came to prominence in 2008/9 alongside the economic crisis. It was ‘discovered’ by Barter Books in 2001, and resulted in the BBC questioning if it was ‘the greatest motivational poster ever’? Why do people from so many corners of the globe recognise it, love it, and purchase it? Do they understand where this poster fits within the wider story of propaganda posters produced by the British government, designed largely for the British civilian population in the Second World War? This short talk will give an overview of a publication in planning, emerging from a 2004 history PhD. The PhD was entitled ‘The planning, design and reception of British home front propaganda posters’, whilst the book has a new chapter under development focusing upon the story of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as a story of a digital age, rather than of the Second World War.

Dr Bex Lewis is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at MMU: disciplinary backgrounds have included history, education, theology, and business.

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Second World War Posters

Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.


June 29, 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Visual Culture Research Centre


Righton Building, MMU
United Kingdom + Google Map