The posters are the work of Pattern Up, an artist collective based in BrightonPatternUp/Rosie Bradbury

Provocative posters seemingly pertaining to Cambridge city council have been plastered on the walls of central Cambridge.

The posters, which were widely shared on social media, brand areas like Market Square and Sidney Street as a “crack & heroin zone” where “the sale and use of Light and Dark is legal”. Light and dark are slang terms for crack cocaine and heroin.

The posters are the work of the artist collective Pattern Up. Raising awareness around child exploitation, the Brighton based group use their take on popular ads to attack consumerist culture and politics more generally.

Pattern Up’s website states: “[Our] aim is to end child exploitation through ending the glamorisation and normalisation of child exploitation through educating young people through messages that I present to them through art, fashion and performing arts”.

Social media reactions to the posters were mixed. One Facebook user commented: “Because heroin and crack users are ALL about legality”.

Others didn’t know if it was a spoof or the real thing. One Facebook user posted: “Where is this please? Or is it a mock up?”.


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Pattern Up told Varsity that the Cambridge campaign aimed “to raise awareness around drug use and challenge the taboo” because “there is a big drug culture at Cambridge”.

Speaking on why the collective targeted Cambridge and its city council specifically, Pattern Up told Varsity that it’s because “these people are responsible for change”.

“Young people are exploited because there is a want for drugs,” Pattern Up said. “Young people are the [easiest] to exploit”.

One of the collective’s members is also a graduate of the University, a source revealed.

Other recent Pattern Up projects include The Sun branded lifejackets for refugees and advertising for the supermarket “Insainsbury’s”.

Cambridge City Council commented: "of course Cambridge City Council does not endorse the sale of illegal drugs. It is important that people are able to trust their local council’s logo and public information and safety messaging, and we are incredibly disappointed at this organisation’s unauthorised use of our logo in this way. If this organisation or any other has a serious desire to use engaging campaign artwork to tackle the sale of illegal drugs, we would be open to a discussion about working together to have a positive impact in our area."