The Independent Group was a highly significant collection of writers, thinkers and creative practitioners which met at the ICA from 1952–5.

A photgrpah of the group of artists

Most often valourised as the fathers of pop, the broader contribution of the Independent Group to critical thinking and creative practice about visual culture has been under-rated. Leading artists such as Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull; architects Alison and Peter Smithson, James Stirling and Colin St John Wilson and critics Lawrence Alloway and Reyner Banham all contributed to the interdisciplinary, group events.

A diagram showing the members of the Group

The Members of the Independent Group

The Independent Group looked at, discussed, analysed, wrote about, designed, built and assembled a galaxy of highly significant work exploring contemporary culture ‘as found’. Using a range of sources including the pages of science-fiction magazines, Jackson Pollock’s paintings, Hollywood film, helicopter design, the streets of London’s East End and modernist architecture the Independent Group created a radical approach to looking and working with visual culture. The approach was inclusive and respectful, drawing from inspiration as diverse as communication theory, anthropology and non-Aristotelean philosophy. The approach also spanned the entire cultural landscape of post-war Britain and inhabited the spaces between a multitude of concepts, practices and disciplines.

The main aim of this website is to provide a simple resource for teachers, researchers and students who are interested in the Independent Group. By providing an up to date collection of resources, it will unpack the phenomenon of the Independent Group, and reassess its significance in the post-disciplinary, digital age. It interrogates the historiography of the group and re-examines its practice in a multi-media context. The spaces between concept, practice and discipline forms the basis for discussion. Between architecture and advertising, fine art and mass culture, film and technology. How can the theories and practice of the Independent Group illuminate the collapsing disciplinary boundaries of contemporary visual culture? How can their exhibition practice, particularly with This is Tomorrow, act as an inspiration for contemporary curators? How can their innovative, pedagogic approach inspire teaching and learning today, across disciplilnary boundaries? What insights does the Group’s innovative approach to the value of ephemerality give us?

This website will, for the first time, bring together the key resources on the Independent Group, to explore and share knowledge about this under-rated cultural phenomenon.

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