Thalia Campbell – Greenham Common protester and banner maker

Item type: Oral History Description: Thalia tells why she started making peace banners in the early 1980s during her involvement at protests at Greenham Common, an airbase where cruise missiles were kept.  She speaks about how the women who were protesting were often vilified and how making banners helped her and other women address this vilification. Click here to listen Thalia Campbell’s audio clip

Transcript

Thalia: Well, I did decide that I was an artist and I could have been one more body around the fire but I thought ‘no’, and we were so vilified, you know, first of all were ignored, we just got little mentions in the local press, but, we were ignored, and I used to irritate some of the women, I said ‘I’d rather be vilified than ignored’ because at least people know you’re, what’s, that something’s happening and the perceptive people can get the right message even if the vilification works on a large selection of the population, which it did. I mean, people did think we were dirty slags, lesbians, bad mothers and all this kind of stuff, like, like they vilified the suffragettes in the early days, but the vilification was so untrue I thought we had to counter it, so that’s why I started making my banners really, to sort of use beauty and humour to put our point across, because that vilification, I mean I had a teacher colleague who used to come to Greenham and she had a job and she used to talk in the staff room about Greenham and she used to be really laughed at so she took ten of my banners into the staff room, put them up around the staff room and everybody was absolutely struck dumb and she never got teased after again that, after she put the beautiful banners up around the staff room. So that’s why I made all the banners really and to tell the story, you know. I made like, ‘Women’s Struggle’, the first one I made was the ‘Map on the March’, and the next one I made was ‘Women’s Struggle Won the Vote Use It for Disarmament’, these are the early ones, and then I made, um, ‘Remembrance Is Not Enough’, and I used to go up and put them on the fence and gradually this became a great big display on the fence. Interviewer: At Greenham? Thalia: Yeah.

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