Hitsville UK: Punk In The Faraway Towns

Home of the hits

Hitsville UK: Punk In The Faraway Towns

13th April – 26th May 2007
The Millais Gallery
Southampton Solent University
Tel: 023 8031 9916

This exhibition provides a major retrospective display of UK punk rock record sleeve design, in order to show new perspectives on the development of graphic styles and regional variations in punk identity away from the metropolitan centres, and beyond the ‘key’ designers of the period who feature in a range of art and design histories. The central objective is to build an alternative historical viewpoint on the graphic identity of UK punk which questions and repositions currently accepted arguments, whilst celebrating the range of lo-tech and innovative approaches to the design of record sleeves, often by self-trained and DIY producers.

This exhibition centres on the graphic design styles of a wide range of UK punk rock record sleeves from the period 1976 to 1984. In contrast to displays of similar material, in the Design Museum and the V&A for instance, this exhibition aims to encompass a broad spectrum of punk records from across the UK, allowing a more detailed, and more complex, story to be told.

Historical accounts of UK punk have seldom given recognition to the Second Wave of independent production of punk records beyond London and the major metropolitan centres, nor have the graphic strategies employed by sleeve designers been seriously documented and analysed. This project explores the relationship between punk’s prime movers and those inspired to take up the challenge to produce their own versions of the genre. As such, it sets itself in opposition to the majority of mainstream historical accounts, and aims to offer a more inclusive alternative based on a broader range of participants and artefacts.

A marvelous catalogue has been produced in conjunction with the exhibition (see images) – containing extensive essays on the lineage of design development throughout the Punk era, wonderful images & three superb timeline posters plotting the course of the movement between 1976 & 1986.

They are available by mail order for £3.50 plus postage (i.e. £5.00 in the UK, or £3.50 plus post at cost for international). Payment accepted by UK cheques/cash/Paypal from:

Russ Bestley
57 Shadwell Road


Russ Bestley – tMx 29 – 04/07

Check: millais.solent.ac.uk/