Like most other cities, stickers of all kinds are a common sight on the streets of Brighton (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Brighton is a coastal city in the south of England, about an hour away from London by train. It is well known for being an open and accepting city, and it also happens to be my home town, so it’s very special to me. I have written about protest and dissent in Brighton on Turbulent London
before, but the city also has an awful lot of protest stickers so I think it deserves (at least) one more post. I took the pictures featured here on a walk down a single (admittedly quite long) road in the city. London Road runs from the city centre to the outskirts in the direction of London, funnily enough. Quite run down when I was younger, the area along the road is going through a rapid process of gentrification, to the extent that is known by some as the Shoreditch of Brighton. Gentrification is frequently a contested process however, and London Road has no shortage of protest stickers.
This is a tile stuck to the wall of a Greggs bakery, so not technically a protest sticker, but I couldn’t resist putting it in because I like it so much. London Road is changing rapidly, and not everyone supports the changes (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Le Turnip produces quite a few satirical stickers, and I have featured some of them before on the blog. This one apes CCTV warning signs, but refers to Sauron, the personification of evil in the Lord of the Rings. Sauron’s eye sits atop a huge tower, and can see everything that goes on in Middle Earth (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Many of the issues protested in London Road stickers are similar to those in London. This striking sticker criticises the reliance of the state on police forces. Brighton generally has an anti-authoritarian vibe (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The anti-authoritarian vibe is also played out through this sticker, variations of which are common throughout Brighton, not just in London Road. The dome which the cannabis leaf is imposed on is frequently used as a symbol of Brighton. It comes from the Brighton Pavilion, a palace built by George IV (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Another cause close to the hearts of many Brightonians is environmentalism. The city elected the first ever Green Party MP in 2010, and had one of the first Green-run councils in the country (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Some stickers along London Road are about less familiar issues however. Most of this sticker has been obscured, but it is still possible to make out that it is declaring solidarity with the Zapatistas, a topic which I have not seen in a London sticker yet (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Unfortunately, not everyone in Brighton is liberal and accepting, this sticker declares a vicious anti-immigration stance in support of UKIP. This was not the first time I have seen this sticker around the city, and I must admit I have removed them from the streets in the past (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The location of stickers can sometimes be important. These stickers were on the entrance to the London Road open market, which has fish stalls (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
There are many people in Brighton who are not afraid to be different. Nevertheless this sticker accuses people of being sheep, blindly following the herd (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Just like in London, protest stickers in Brighton are subject to the ravages of time. It is just possible to make out that this sticker is calling for the boycott of Israeli goods, although the colours have faded and most of the letters have worn away (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Anti-fascism is another prominent issue in Brighton, largely due to the March for England demonstrations that are frequently held in the city. This stickers adapts the normal anti-fascist logo to reflect the city’s large LGBTQ population (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
The March for England events draw participants and opponents from elsewhere to Brighton. This stickers comes from Southampton, a city along the coast to the west of Brighton (Photo: Hannah Awcock).
Protest has a complicated relationship with mainstream politics. Governments and political parties are frequently the targets of social movements and demonstrations, such as the recent
Anti-government protests after the 2015 General Election. Political parties and politicians often appear as the subject of protests stickers. In London, the frequency of these kind of stickers increased in the weeks before the recent General Election. Generally, the streets of London did not agree with Britain’s voters.
There was a decidedly anti-Conservative tone of many of the protest stickers that appeared in the weeks before the 2015 General Election (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Tottenham Court Road, 17/04/15).
UKIP also received a certain amount of criticism on the streets of London, although it then went on to win 12.6% of the vote (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).
This example, more of a poster than a sticker really, directly referenced the election (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).
These stickers criticized the electoral system as a whole rather than specific politic parties. They had been removed the next day (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 28/04/15).
A sticker calling for Muslims not to vote. Some argue that voting is polytheism, because no one has the right to make laws except God. The sticker has an official appearance, looking more like a warning sign than a protest sticker (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Station, 12/05/15).
This sticker, by the Anarchist Federation, is also calling for people not to vote, although I’m sure the motive was very different. This sticker was located on a bin, which might have been an attempt to equate voting with rubbish. Or it might have been a coincidence (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Camden High Street, 20/05/15).
The writing on this sticker has been removed, but the image of David Cameron with vampiric teeth gets the message across I think! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 28/04/15).
This sticker, along with the next one, rank amongst my favourite stickers that I’ve come across so far in London. Avengers: Age of Ultron was released in UK cinemas on the 23rd of April, so the reference is topical as well as humorous (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).
Not to be left out, Nigel Farage also gets the Avengers treatment (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).
This sticker also criticises Nigel Farage’s party, using wordplay to warn of the dangers of complacency (Photo: Hannah Awcock, King’s Cross, 05/05/15).
This sticker is another criticism of UKIP, but it has been grafittied, accusing the person who made the sticker of bigotry (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Regent’s Canal tow path, Camden, 20/05/15).
Many people are disillusioned with the political system, and feel like the current political parties do not offer real choice. They all argue that there is a need for continued austerity, for example. This sticker is referring to that sense of disillusionment (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 06/05/15).
This sticker refers to an entirely different vote, although the issue of Scottish independence was still an important one during the election campaign. This sticker is from the Yes Campaign, that argued for Scottish independence during the referendum in 2014 (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).