To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strike this exhibition will look at the vital role photographs played during the year-long struggle against pit closures, including many materials drawn from the Martin Parr Foundation collection. The miners’ strike was one of Britain’s longest and most bitter disputes, the repercussions of which continue to be felt throughout the country today. The industrial action, which began in Yorkshire, was led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and its President, Arthur Scargill, against the National Coal Board (NCB). The Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher opposed the strikes and aimed to reduce the power of the trade unions.
Ephemera relating to the strike – including posters, vinyl records, plates, badges and publications – will be placed in dialogue with work by photographers who documented the events in 1984-85. Collectively, the materials demonstrate the power and the contradictions inherent in using photography as a tool of resistance.
The exhibition will include photographs by Brenda Prince, John Sturrock, John Harris, Jenny Matthews, Roger Tiley, Imogen Young and Chris Killip, as well as photo albums compiled by Philip Winnard who was himself a striking miner. These works will be displayed alongside archival press prints also from the Martin Parr Foundation collection and vernacular images taken by Swansea police on a trip to a picket line in Derbyshire, on loan from the National Museum Wales.
This exhibition is curated by Isaac Blease, and accompanied by a programme of events to hold discussions around the role of photography in the miners’ strike.