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1st November, 2022

Walking to Greenham: Women’s Bodies in Motion Across Art and Activism

Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was a network of protest camps set up on the periphery of the United States Air Force (USAF) base at Greenham Common, Berkshire, protesting NATO’s 1979 decision to keep Cruise nuclear missiles on previously common land. Beginning in 1981 with a march from Cardiff to Greenham by women, men and children, the camp became women-only the following year and remained so through its 19-year span. According to Barbara Harford and Sarah Hopkinson (1984), Greenham ‘became a place where ideas, fears, dreams, philosophies and skills came together to be worked through’, and initiated a series of actions of exceptional creative ingenuity and political efficacy.

This panel discussion focused on this key moment in women’s protest history and its multi-faceted legacies, especially in art and visual culture. Taking its title from Ann Pettitt’s memoir of the march from Cardiff to Greenham and the establishment of the peace camp, it unpicked some of the practical and performative dimensions of women walking on their way to the peace camp, around the perimeter fence and between the different gates, walking to protest and as a form of protest, on and off site. While ordinary and taken-for-granted, walking was examined as a revolutionary routine towards the reclamation of the militarised commons.

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