Press Release

‘Sylvia & Silvio’ explores lives of radical duo

Published on 18 November 2019

A new exhibition at the University of Dundee will showcase the extraordinary lives of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst and her partner, the Italian radical Silvio Corio

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‘Sylvia & Silvio’ opens at the University’s Dalhousie Building on Wednesday 27 November and features rarely before seen documents and photographs relating to the couple, who were at the forefront of campaigns for social justice and human rights as well as the fight against fascism.

Sylvia Pankhurst is famed for her role in the suffragette movement as well as for her passionate interest in anti-colonialism, humanitarian issues and revolutionary politics. Silvio Corio was a typographer who fled Italy after his involvement in anarchist and socialist militancy saw him fall foul of the state, arriving in London in 1900.

The exhibition illustrates how Mussolini’s regime tried to transform London’s Little Italy into a bastion of fascism, and how Pankhurst and Corio were among the first to raise the alarm about this infiltration before leading the resistance against fascism for the rest of their lives.

“This dramatic exhibition shows how Sylvia Pankhurst and Silvio Corio represent a wonderful example of the need for continuous struggle against fascism,” said Dr Omar Feraboli, one of the exhibition organisers.

“It also shows, quite worryingly, several frightening similarities between the dialectic and the rhetoric used by newspapers in Italy during 1920s-1930s and the aggressive and brutal language which characterises the current political debate in Italy.”

Alfio Bernabei, author, historian, journalist and exhibition curator, will give a talk at the opening of ‘Sylvia & Silvio’ from 5pm on 27 November. In it, he will explain the significance of Sylvia’s and Silvio’s political activities, the historical connections between suffragism and anti-fascism, and the contemporary significance of the couple’s actions at a time when the far-right is emboldened once more.

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