Rock Against Racism: 1976-1981 and Beyond

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Hart Hall 3201

UC Davis Cultural Studies Colloquium


Between 1976 and 1981 the Rock Against Racism Movement (RAR) confronted the chronic rise of racism in Britain through demonstrations, gigs, festivals and design. Syd Shelton was a London committee member of RAR. He contributed graphic design and took photographs of RAR events and contextual images of the lives that were defined as different. In 2008 Carol Tulloch instigated the exhibition A Riot of Our Own, about RAR’s archival material, that has inspired a number of other projects. In this illustrated talk Syd and Carol will recount their work on RAR which has culminated in the book and exhibition Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism.

Carol Tulloch is Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism at the University of the Arts London based at Chelsea College of Arts. She is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her recent work includes The Persistence of Taste: Art, Museums and Everyday Life After Bourdieu (co-editor 2018), the exhibition Jessica Ogden: Still (2017), the monograph The Birth of Cool:
Style Narratives of the African Diaspora
(2016), the book and exhibition Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism (2015).

Syd Shelton is a photographer and graphic designer. Since the 1970s he sees his practice as a socialist act on behalf of marginalized lives. As a member of the Rock Against Racism Movement (1976-1981) he honed this belief. His work is in numerous collections including the V&A, the Tate Gallery and Autograph. Syd’s publications include the award winning A Day in the Life of London (1984), Ireland: A Week in the Life of a Nation (1986), Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism (2015) and the touring exhibition of the same name.

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