Protests & Pranks

Drawing on material from UNSW Records & Archives, Protests & Pranks traces a history of student-led protests and Foundation Day pranks at UNSW. The exhibition features posters, photos, videos, oral histories, and protest ephemera, including badges, t-shirts, and pamphlets.


26 February - 14 June 2024


Level 5 Main Library
Law Library
Paddington Library



UNSW Records & Archives

Protests & Pranks, for the first time, will span all three UNSW Libraries. At UNSW Main Library, the exhibition shifts between global and hyperlocal protest movements. Protests & Pranks reveals how students mobilise to effect change, from the worldwide campaigns against the Vietnam War to student demonstrations in response to university policies. UNSW Law Library features tactical frivolity, the playful, non-compliant side of student resistance that manifested in pranks and stunts designed to provoke and challenge authority. The display at UNSW Paddington Library contains materials from recent climate rallies and political demonstrations to show how students utilise protests as a form of activism to bring about reform. 

The exhibition features photos, videos, oral histories, newspaper clippings, and protest ephemera, including posters, badges, and pamphlets. These materials help to piece together the shared concerns, movements, and cultural identity of UNSW.

Top image: Photograph by Neilton Clarke of UNSW (AMCAE / City Art Institute / COFA) art students protest march through Hyde Park to CBD against earmarked introduction of student fees, c.1980-81.

Accessibility: UNSW Main Library, UNSW Law Library, and UNSW Paddington Library are wheelchair accessible. The exhibition will include large-text artwork labels and booklets, audio-described guides, and braille exhibition guides.