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Prints of Darkness: Being a Teenager in a Time of European Turmoil

Image: Luke Bendorffe, No Diving!, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Fred Longworth High School.

Prints of Darkness: Being a Teenager in a Time of European Turmoil

This intervention features artwork by students from Fred Longworth High School, Tyldesley and responds to Prints of Darkness: Goya and Hogarth in a Time of European Turmoil, an exhibition currently on display at the Whitworth.

The starting point for the project was Goya and Hogarth’s use of print to comment on 18th century politics. Drawing on these artists’ use of print technology – the ability to reproduce and share multiple copies of an image – the students also studied the work of Christopher Spencer. Often referred to as a ‘modern Hogarth’ but better known to his 154,000 Twitter followers as Cold War Steve, Spencer’s satirical and witty visions of Brexit similarly comment on our politically uncertain times.

The students were invited to share their passions, politics and perceptions of youth in response to the question: What do you want to say about being a teenager in Britain today?

Their work reflects a world where unrealistically airbrushed selfies, uncensored live streaming and cyber bullying are considered part of everyday life, Digital media both directs and distorts experience of today’s society. Their art shows how young people are creating their own stories while navigating an ever-changing digital and social landscape.


Cold War Steve

Described by his many online Twitter followers as ‘the modern Hogarth’ Christopher Spencer aka Cold War Steve produces collages of Brexit Britain to much acclaim. His responses to the present news landscape, that feature world leaders from Donald Trump, Theresa May and Kim Jong-un to ‘low-level celebrities’ are generated in collage form and have helped him acclaim a following that presently make him one of Twitters most satirical accounts.


Fred Longworth High School

The Arts faculty at Fred Longworth High believe that 'The Arts' form an essential part of a whole education and are critical in inspiring learners to become the best possible versions of themselves. Our teaching and learning are focused on inspiring students to be creative, which we believe is a crucial aspect of human development.

Collaboration is at the heart of our curriculum which begins where our students’ endeavours, interests and talents lie. We build upon these elements in order to fully engage students in the learning process but to also deepen our student’s exploration of each medium and introduce them to the very best that can be created in each field.

We work to develop our student’s cultural capital through a wide range of trips, performance opportunities, extra-curricular workshops and exposure to the arts as we believe that this is a crucial factor in improving social mobility amongst our students. Our learning environments are created to support learners in their endeavours and provide the relevant tools and equipment in order to promote authentic, real-world learning opportunities and the pursuit of excellence.


8 April – 4 August 2019

Image: Luke Bendorffe, No Diving!, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Fred Longworth High School.