Thursday, 1 November 2012

Olive Shapley poster for Shape & Situate zine

I have contributed a badly linocut poster about radio producer and presenter Olive Shapley to the new edition of Melanie Maddison's Shape & Situate: Posters of inspirational European women zine (as seen at the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention in May!), which will be launched at Leeds Zine Fair at Wharf Chambers on Sunday November 4.

Now in its fourth edition, Melanie's project celebrates underlooked women in all fields of society. I felt compelled to create a poster about Olive because I became intrigued by her during my involvement in the Manchester's Modernist Heroines project. Of all the women we focused on, Olive is the one I keep returning to and trying to find out more about, and my poster is inspired by the presence she still has in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury today – as well as being honoured by a nursery school bearing her name, there is a street named after her. Olive's former home, Rose Hill, where she housed Vietnamese boat people and single mothers, became Didsbury's first £1 million house in 2002. I have an unfulfilled ambition to procure some of Olive's radio programmes – particularly her 1930s Engels-inspired documentary the Classic Soil, and children's shows – with the aim of organising an Olive Shapley listening party, but they are proving hard to come by (the Classic Soil is available at the British Library, but apparently 'the ending is missing' from the recording, and I imagine it would be very expensive to hire copies from the BBC).

Melanie Maddison and Lindsay Starbuck will also be running a social history workshop at Leeds Zine Fair, entitled 'Remembering who we are', which will feature examples of inspiring social history zines and provide an opportunity to contribute to a collective zine being compiled on the day. The zine fair is being hosted by Leeds' Footprint Workers' Co-op, and will be well worth attending!

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