The Politics of Roses: Resistance, Resilience, Ruse

Roses have collected and been designated a richer and greater array of symbolisms than most other florae, faunae or objects- over the the last near-millennium. In this paper we will look at the multitude of interpretations of roses within socio-political iconography, from grassroots protest and social justice struggles, through to political propaganda from the 1960s to the present. They will take us on a global journey across the landscapes of human emotions, needs, struggles and goals, each encased in a rose.


Elisa Bailey is a curator and museologist based in Madrid, working on international cultural projects at Lord Cultural Resources and as Director of CuraCultura. Her research covers the role of artists in solidarity, memorials and protest, for which she founded the Rise·Rosa·Rage Archive of Socio-Political Graphics. She has lived in Italy, Spain, the UK, France, Russia, Cyprus, Austria and Oman, working with the V&A Museum, British Film Institute, Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Sotheby’s, Dubai Expo 2020, the Carabinieri, Associated Press, The Guardian, the BBC and others. Elisa studied at the University of Cambridge, the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), Harvard University’s Centre for Hellenic Studies (Greece), and the University of Cyprus. She speaks six languages and smatterings of others.