Support is Visual – The Visual is Vital

A collection of stickers and postcards from the Scottish Committee Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection.

A collection of stickers and postcards from the Scottish Committee Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection.

‘Support is Visual’ the leaflet said at first glance, a glance that stopped me in my tracks. I was struck by the unusual, yet powerful slogan, and started thinking about the necessity of visual support.

Over a month spent in amongst the stacks, working on the Scottish Committee Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection, has drawn my attention to the vast array of ways that people displayed their support; from stickers, to diaries, greetings cards, plastic bags, leaflets, flyers, banners and sashes. Not to mention posters of every size, painted by hand or printed in their hundreds, and letterheads; providing a constant reminder of what was being fought for.

When I was growing up, during the time around elections, lampposts were covered in poster boards promoting independents, candidates and parties. A huge variety of colours, symbols, words and pictures stretched up into the sky, a totemic symbol of our right to choose. Gradually, the boards were removed, pulled down or blown away, and slowly this tradition fell out of favour.

It is only in the years surrounding the referendum that there has been resurgence in this kind of visual support.

Support for causes is now often still visual, but on a very personal scale, seen through our mobiles, tablets and computer screens, broadcast to an inward looking, electronic world.

This leaves the ‘real world’ populated by a visual onslaught of logos, brand names and airbrushed ads, with important causes and campaigns often pushed to the back through the lack of an international marketing team and endless funding.

These images around us can have a lasting effect, stored away in our subconscious. A world captured in a moment, in a glance; that will slowly transform our thoughts and opinions. It is therefore important and necessary to make room and allow these causes to shine through, to reclaim the word ‘campaign’ as a driving force for good rather than simply for goods.

But, in the end support isn’t visual; it is in fact ‘Vital’. A misreading on a Friday afternoon, but one with no less impact and no less significance. So, next time you support a cause, display it to the world, wear the badge, and put up the poster.

Visual support is vital support.

Julia Wylie, Project Archivist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *