For and Against

Loughborough festival explores relationship between art, politics, and the pamphlet

A two-day festival in Loughborough will look at the role of the pamphlet as both an art form and an influential means of political communication.

From 26 – 27 May, ‘For & Against: Art, Politics and the Pamphlet’ features performances, presentations, an art exhibition and the creation of a series of new pamphlets.

The public symposium at Fearon Hall, Loughborough on Friday 26 May will see presentations and ‘rants' from a wide variety of artists, academics and pamphlet makers.

A keynote speech by prominent social media figure and political video blogger Mark McGowan (known online as Artist Taxi Driver) examines what it means to be a ‘political pamphleteer’ in the age of social media.

On Saturday 27 May, the event takes over Loughborough’s Queen’s Park, museum and library with hands-on workshops, performances, processions, exhibitions and music for all to get involved with.

Highlights across the two-day programme include:

  • The launch of ‘For & Against! The Art of the Pamphlet’, an exhibition of political pamphlets
  • ‘Off Message’ - a creative workshop with Turner Prize-nominated artist Ciara Phillips where participants can print wearable slogans
  • A one-to-one performance with artist Ruth Beale that takes place during a reduced-price haircut
  • Open ‘market stalls’ where the public can participate in a day of pamphlet-making with artists
  • A new performance piece by Rory Pilgrim working with Reba Maybury, writer and founder of the radical interdependent publishing house Wet Satin Press
  • Sound work created by Patrick Goddard for the Queen’s Park bandstand

Throughout the 20th century, artists have worked and acted provocatively using text, images, and performance, publishing writings and producing pamphlets and manifestos. The last decade has seen art’s increased engagement with political and social issues, and a preoccupation with revolutionary movements and global politics.

The event responds to research into this field by the Radical Aesthetics-Radical Art (RaRa) project which was initiated in 2009 at Loughborough University under the auspices of the Politicized Practice Research Group by Dr Jane Tormey and Dr Gillian Whiteley.

‘For & Against: Art, Politics and the Pamphlet’ is part of Radar, Loughborough University’s contemporary arts programme that engages with academic research.

For further information, please visit the Radar website.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 17/64

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

Radar is the contemporary arts strand of LU Arts - the arts programme of Loughborough University. Twice a year, a group of artists are selected to engage with research conducted by the university and use it as a stimulus to inform and develop new works. Its purpose is to deliver a high-quality programme of artistic outputs which inspire participation and debate through cross-disciplinary working with artists and academics.

Although facilitated by the university, Radar has a strong community focus; working with artists whose practice is located within the public sphere, and presenting its output both on campus and throughout Loughborough. Audiences are able to engage with ideas and issues not only through the artistic outputs but also through an accompanying series of discursive events.

For further information, images, or interviews relating to Radar, please contact Nick Slater on (01509) 222960 or Lizzie Hobbs on (01509) 222948.