Atelier Populaire and The Common House


Fig 1: Poster from May 68 – Beauty is in the street

During May 1968 there was major unrest within France amongst many students and works. This resulted in many wildcat protests against capitalism, consumerism and other injustices. Atelier populaire were a group of artists and students who had occupied École des Beaux-Arts (a fine art school) printing facilities during a series of strikes. They were a very DIY group who created hundreds of different poster designs with a simple silk screen; the produced a mass amount at a time. The imagery used was bold, simple and straight to the point – what was necessary during these times to get a message across. The occupation of these facilities allowed these students and artists to have there own creative space where they are allowed to create at there own will, no rules or restrictions. We had visited the Common House in East London. This space hosts many different events and is open to anyone. A commons is a space that is accessible by anyone in society; it is not a private space or public, but is rather something individuals present maintain and look after. I found the space very welcoming and open, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or awkward at all; maybe this was because it houses many different people? They had their own riso printer also. This reminded me a lot of the Atelier Populaire set up and how they had there own means to create, print and distribute their designs. Common spaces are important in our society and activist culture. They offer a safe space to create and share opinions with like-minded people; which can be hard to find in todays day and age.


Beauty is in the street (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 12 March 2016).
Common house (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 15 March 2016).
Commons (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 15 March 2016).
May 1968 events in France (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 15 March 2016).
McGuirk, J. (2016) Beauty is in the street: The power of protest posters. Available at: (Accessed: 11 March 2016).
Posters from the revolution, Paris, may, 1968 (1969) Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merril Co.
Sinclair, M. (2008) May 1968: A graphic uprising. Available at: (Accessed: 13 March 2016).
Fig 1: Beauty is in the street (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 12 March 2016).

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