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This paper focuses on the importance of creativity in women forming bonds and supporting one another at Greenham Common, specifically through the production of banners. It evaluates the importance of creativity in women’s lives and analyses the significance of feminine practices in promoting peace. Women as peace activists have rarely been researched within the wider peace movement or the women’s movement.

This paper investigates a variety of sources to come to this conclusion. The banners featured mainly came from museums and archives including the National Museum of Wales and St Fagan’s Museum in Cardiff and the Peace Museum in Bradford. Maisie Jepson also utilised archival sources across the country to gain an understanding of visiting and/or camping at Greenham, the background and formation of the camp and personal correspondences. The main bulk of their original research was achieved through oral histories with eight women who made banners for Greenham Common and/or other peace camps, to gain an understanding of how it felt to be part of an art collective campaigning for peace. They provided images of their banners, and the images, symbols and colours were discussed during their oral histories.

This paper argues that researching women’s movements through a cultural history lens reveals the importance of creative, collective protests for women. Firstly, it analyses the colours, symbols, motifs and process of making banners for Greenham Common in small, local women’s peace groups. Then, it evaluates the impact of collective banner-making in revealing women’s beliefs and fears regarding nuclear weapons. It also shows how protesting with banners supports the women’s non-violent ethos. Furthermore, it draws links between the dichotomy of feminism and feminine forms of art. Finally, it outlines the lasting impact of banners at Greenham on women’s future activism.

Maisie Jepson graduated with BA (Hons) in History from the University of Winchester in 2022, with a dissertation on the inclusivity of the Bristol Women’s Liberation Group in the 1970s. Maisie recently graduated with an MA in History from the University of Exeter. Maisie’s main research interests are in gender, social and cultural history, told through the fashion, textiles and oral histories of women. Throughout Maisie’s Master’s, she developed an interest in textile history, using art for protest and the importance of women’s art collectives. This paper is based on that MA dissertation.

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