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Greenwich Mural Workshop (GMW) was set up in 1975 by Carol Kenna and Stephen Lobb and were a community arts project doing murals, screen printed posters and workshops with local people. The printshop was developed by Lulu Ditzel and Rob Finn firstly (who both joined in 1980), then expanded to its full political/radical potential by Rick Walker, Lyn Medcalf and Carmen Diaz. The workshop is still running, although not the printshop element.(see link below).

GMW published one of the few books about 'community printing', 'Printing is Easy…? Community Printshops 1970s -1986'. The book accompanied an exhibition of the same name. In the book Rick Walker who had come from a background of 'left-wing jobbing printing' discusses the different setup that he now found himself in at GMW whereby untrained people printed things for themselves for the price of materials. The idea at GMW like many of the 'self-help' or community printshops was that it was empowering for people to be able to take charge of the actual production of their own printed communications, but as in fact because of the level of knowledge and experience required to do this successfully it often had the opposite effect. Walker (1986):'To me the DIY system is wasteful of materials, unbearably slow, and in a number of ways discriminatory and punitive (…)In effect what we seem to be saying to less well heeled campaigning, voluntary and working class organisations that make up our intended constituency is that if they can't afford to employ professional designers and printers, they'll have to do the work themselves. I would have thought this was the whole problem, and I have trouble making some sort of virtue out of it. The theory may well be that we want to provide an informal creative ambiance where people with no art training can come and express themselves. The effect tends to be that someone wanting a routine job done has to give up their valuable free time, unless they are paid by their organisation. This is particularly hard for example on women with children, and in fact most of our users are paid workers for voluntary organisations or for the council itself or young unemployed people. The fact that we do carry out jobs providing the customer pays for our time tends to exacerbate the problem, because a council department or well endowed trade union can afford to simply pay labour charges, whereas the local anti-deportation campaign has to go through the mill. Currently we work with people on design and presentation, which is the most important thing for an impoverished group or individual doing publicity or publishing to learn. After that we usually do the origination and may well print as well, with them racking'



  • Kenna, Carol; Medcalf, Lyn; Walker, Rick. (1986) Printing is Easy…? Community Printshops 1970 - 1986 Greenwich Mural Workshop pp12-15/ pp28-29
greenwich_mural_workshop.txt · Last modified: 2011/01/17 14:23 by