More artists in the archive?

I found a very intriguing poster in a small folder of material about a ‘Festival of Women’ organised at Wembley Arena in June 1957.  The illustration just really appealed to me, the angular lines of it and the design of the furniture. 

Poster for a 'Festival of Women', NUWT Collection, ref UWT/D/355/1 ©Institute of Education Archive

I imagine the illustration is to show what the stands which organisations could hire for the Festival would look like.  It looks to me like quite an expensive promotional poster. It’s on good quality paper and has a blue tint to the print. The diagram shows a map of the main hall for the Festival of Women exhibition and at the bottom in small writing it says ‘Ronald Dickens, M.B.E. F.S.I.A’. I can’t find out much about him except some correspondence in the Royal Society Archive catalogue about a Centenary Exhibition at St Mary’s Hospital. It sounds like he was an artist or an exhibition organiser. If anyone has any more information I’d be happy to hear from you.

It’s just a small file of letters but very interesting as the NUWT give their reasons for not getting involved with the Festival.  An NUWT member writes to the General Secretary, A. Muriel Pierotti, asking her why the NUWT is not going to be represented at this Festival and is not listed as a supporting organisation (the list of supporting organisations are shown in the letter below). 

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/355/1

The General Secretary writes back with, I like to think more than a hint of sarcasm (towards the Festival not the NUWT member), that :
‘originally it was proposed that the festival would demonstrate the important contribution of women to the national economy, and they seemed to do this by having pavilions dealing with a Court of Fashion, Twentieth Century Homemakings, the Home Beautiful, Food Fiesta, Leisure time and so on… I think the question is why it should be necessary to have a Festival of Women and what purpose it will serve’.
Certainly going from the literature sent to the NUWT it seems to be an awful lot about the women as consumer with the women as worker tagged on as an afterthought. I can see why they chose not to become involved as it has no real relevance to the agenda of the NUWT – to promote equal working and educational rights for women.


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