The Project


Punk: Rage & Revolution focuses on the UK punk scene through original objects, information panels and ephemera, including the first retrospective of original clothing from the late Dame Vivienne Westwood since she died. Alongside origins and influences, the exhibition also looks at punk’s ideology, attitude, fashion, music, art and legacy.

The exhibition explores the Leicester punk scene, including the city’s creatives who each influenced the development of punk while young people, via Soft Touch Arts, demonstrate how social, political and cultural issues from the 1970’s are still relevant to today’s younger generation.

“It’s hard to explain what being young was like in those days, we couldn’t see a future. A bit like today to be honest…”

Melanie Berman


The project features exhibitions at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, Backlit in Nottingham, The Gallery at De Montfort University, Soft Touch Arts and the LCB Depot. Events and activities will take place throughout the duration of the exhibitions, including a Revive festival in Leicester in August 2023.

The project has been created by Arch Creative, Soft Touch Arts and social history author and historian Shaun Knapp, the team behind the award winning 2019 Mods: Shaping a Generation exhibition. The Mods exhibition took Leicester by storm in 2019 with over 30,000 visitors from across the country and beyond, celebrating the stylish 1960s Mod youth subculture.


The Punk project is being co-curated, organised and designed by Soft Touch Arts, Arch Creative and Shaun Knapp - the same team that created Mods : Shaping a Generation. The hugely popular exhibition contributed 1.75M to the local economy and won a tourism award for ‘best free event.’ Young people involved with Soft Touch Arts are also at the heart of the design and curation, working closely with the team to make the project happen.

Soft Touch Arts

Soft Touch Arts is a local charity who engage young people that are struggling to reach their potential due to personal issues. The Punk project is being headed up by former punk and Business Development Manager Chris Wigmore (pictured), and Soft Touch Founder and Director Sally Norman.

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Arch Creative

Arch is a local design and advertising agency with a multi-disciplined team of designers, animators and developers. Dedicated to creating projects which make a real difference to the local community, the Punk project is headed up by Arch Founder and Creative Director Joe Nixon.

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Shaun Knapp

Shaun is a Leicester born social history author with a passion for the music scene. The content for the Mods exhibition was based around Shaun’s book Mods: Two City Connection. With an in-depth knowledge of the British Punk scene Shaun is heading up the exhibition curation.

“We’re incredibly excited to be managing this major project for Leicester. As well as providing a ‘feel good’ exhibition for Leicester post-Covid, we’ll be giving young people the opportunity to learn directly from Leicester Punks about their lives, to create their own music, film fashion and art with a message for a high-profile exhibition at Soft Touch and Leicester Museum & Gallery inspired by what they learn and hear.”

Christina Wigmore,
Soft Touch Arts Business Development Manager

“The Punk movement had such a revolutionary impact on design and culture, bringing together music, fashion, art, and design with such an expressive approach. We’re looking forward to working closely with young people from Soft Touch Arts to help shape the creative ideas for the programme, developing a visually impressive exhibition which conveys the rage and revolution from both the original Punk scene and young people today”.

Joe Nixon,
Arch Creative Founder

“Punk was all about attitude which in itself informed its ideology be it fashion, art or music and I’m looking forward to seeing how the young people of today engage with the punks from the 1970s to interpret one of the most fascinating and influential youth subcultures this country has seen.”

Shaun Knapp,
Social History Author


Roger K Burton

Acclaimed fashion and film stylist, subculture collector, writer and curator Roger K Burton was there at the outset of punk, sourcing vintage garments for all the legendary punk stores. He designed Westwood & McLaren’s infamous Worlds End store, and co-founded and designed punk store PX. He loaned all the clothes for Mods : Shaping a Generation, and is once again a key partner on Punk : Rage & Revolution, loaning his incredible collection of original punk clothing.

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Dr Emma Parker

Dr Emma Parker is Associate Professor of English at the University of Leicester. She is an expert on Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature, Gender Studies and Joe Orton. Emma is bringing her Punk expertise and network of contacts to the project, and is joining the team as an ambassador.

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Dave Henderson

Dave Henderson has been in the music and art worlds for 50 years. He made a splash at Leicester Poly, founding the New Wave Society and band The Blazers, later The Disco Zombies. His early career included design on Derek Jarman’s Jubilee (now in the V & A), launching Dining Out Records and contributing to punk fanzine South London Stinks. He has since created publications for Glastonbury, overseen branding for Q, Kerrang! and MOJO, produced the Kerrang! Awards, worked with Sound International, Noise, Music Week, the list goes on…

“Our museums play a vital role in capturing and sharing stories that reflect the lives of local people, so I’m delighted that Leicester Museum & Art Gallery Is to host this celebration of the Punk movement and what It meant to people In Leicester who were part of It.”

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair


Jamie Reid

Jamie Reid is an English artist and political activist, who created a unique style of cut-up graphics and slogans. His best known works include the Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks. Jamie will be loaning an original punk mural for the exhibition, and we’re working closely with his friend and manager John Marchant to bring Jamie’s exhibition of social injustice work to the DMU gallery.

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Dr John Cooper Clarke

Poet; movie star; rock star; TV & radio presenter; comedian; social & cultural commentator. Britain’s best loved and most important performance poet performed on stage with many punk and post-punk bands. Dr John Cooper Clarke has been interviewed for exclusive exhibition content, so we’re pleased that he is contributing to the project.

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Steve Pyke

Leicester born Steve Pyke MBE is one of the world’s most renowned photographers. Having worked at The Face, NME and The New Yorker, he’s created a portfolio of the most extraordinary thinkers, creators, and artists of our time. Having experienced both the Leicester and London punk scenes, we’ve interviewed Steve for important content and are delighted to be featuring several of Steve’s original photographs.

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Don Letts

Don Letts is a British film director, DJ and musician. Letts ran the clothes store Acme Attractions on the King’s Road and was the DJ at legendary punk club The Roxy. He also filmed punk groups who played there, and made the documentary The Punk Rock Movie. As a result of this, Letts then became the videographer for The Clash, and went on to direct over 350 music videos. In 1984, Letts co-founded the band Big Audio Dynamite. Letts now makes acclaimed documentaries and presents a weekly show on BBC Radio 6 Music.

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Jeannette Lee

Jeannette Lee is a record executive and manager who was instrumental in shaping punk. A chance encounter with Don Letts landed her a job at the now-iconic Acme Attractions. A musician herself, she was the singer for post-punk band Public Image Ltd alongside long-term friend John Lydon of Sex Pistols. Lee is co-owner of Rough Trade Records, signing among others Stiff Little Fingers, The Smiths, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, The Libertines and more. She also separately managed Pulp and The Cranberries alongside Geoff Travis.

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William English

William English is a Leicester-born filmmaker, broadcaster, bookseller, and co-founder with Sandra Cross of the organic vegetarian restaurant, The Dining Room (1980-1990). He is curator of the Captain Maurice Seddon (Royal Signals) archive, audio selections from which have been released as The Seddon Tapes (Paradigm Discs). English’s long running radio series Wavelength is a programme of multiple agendas showcasing under the radar experimental music, poetry and art, broadcasting on Resonance 104.4fm. His films include Ex-Library, Heated Gloves, It’s My Own Invention, and City.

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“We can’t wait to welcome ‘Punk – Rage and Revolution’ to Leicester, building on the success of ‘Mod’s – Shaping a Generation’ back in 2019. This will be an exciting exhibition and tie in weekend festival that celebrates the colour, vibrancy, and energy of the punk scene, offering a series of events for people to enjoy across a range of city centre venues. As well as offering something new to the public, the exhibition and festival will provide a boost to footfall and sales for our businesses.”

Simon Jenner, BID Leicester Director

Partners & Sponsors

Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, the National Heritage Lottery Fund were able to give a grant to make the punk project happen. Lottery player’s investment helps people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. The punk exhibition will be an exciting intergenerational earning project about the national and local punk scenes, protecting heritage at risk.

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Bid Leicester

The Business Improvement District (BID) for Leicester is a business-led, not for profit organisation working to transform Leicester city centre, making it a better place to live, work, visit, study and do business. Similarly to the previous Mods project, the Punk exhibition and festival aims to raise the profile of Leicester, attract thousands of visitors and benefit local businesses through increased footfall in the city centre.

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Leicester Museums & Galleries

The Punk : Rage & Revolution project is delivered in partnership with Leicester City Council’s Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (LMAG), based on New Walk. The team at LMAG are working closely with the Generation : Subculture team to support an exhibition which will be accessible and engaging. Leicester City Council are also helping with some funding for the upcoming Punk Festival weekender.

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The MusicLicence from PPL PRS allows you to legally play music for employees or customers in your business through the radio, TV, other digital devices and live performances. PPL PRS’s HQ is based in Leicester, and they are dedicated to supporting the local community with sponsorship for projects, specifically for those which help to engage through music, arts and culture.

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De Montfort University

De Montfort University (DM) are working in collaboration with the Punk event team across various creative courses, from Fashion, Graphic Design & Illustration, and Game Art. There will be a exhibition of student’s work displayed at the Lightbox Gallery at the LCB Depot. The Gallery on the DMU campus will also be hosting a Jamie Reid exhibition of his social injustice work during the Punk exhibition.

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University of Leicester

This project  is supported by the University of Leicester and its Heritage Hub,  which nurtures innovative partnerships in Leicestershire, Rutland and beyond to make inclusive, sustainable, positive change in the world. The University has lent the exhibition items from its Archives and Special Collections and draws on Dr Emma Parker’s research into Joe Orton.

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Arts Council

The Arts Council is a national development agency for creativity and culture who helps to grow skills, knowledge and networks. Publicly-funded art and culture is important and what benefits it can bring to individuals, communities and society as a whole. Supported by The Arts Council, Punk : Rage & Revolution aims to deliver all of this on a local and national level.

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Museum of Youth Culture

The Museum of Youth Culture is an emerging museum dedicated to the styles, sounds and social movements innovated by young people over the last 100 years. The punk project is recording memories that will be archived here, preserving social history stories that may otherwise not be told.

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BACKLIT is an artist-led public gallery and studios in Nottingham, supporting arts and culture since 2008. Backlit will also be hosting their own Punk : Rage & Revolution exhibition which will have a focus on the LGBTQ+ movement and how punk influenced gender identity.

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Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

Northampton Museum and Art gallery (NMAG) are also producing a Punk : Rage & Revolution exhibition which follows Leicester’s. NMAG’s focus will be on their local story including Acme clothing, Spinadisc, I-Saws and the Submerged Tenth, Bauhaus and Doc Martens.

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“We are thrilled to be supporting the project and more specifically sponsoring a placement opportunity for one of our students. Not only does it allow us to work with Soft Touch Arts and other key partners for the exhibition but allows us to facilitate a unique real life learning opportunity which is of mutual benefit. Our campus facilities and courses align with many of the key themes and topics which the exhibition will address overall, and we can’t wait to see it all take shape over the coming months.”

Fi Donovan, Head of Public Engagement, DMU