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The Victoria and Albert Museum will collect signs created during lockdown.

Daria Simone Harper
May 12, 2020 4:53PM, via The Guardian

A rainbow sign hanging in an Edinburgh window. Image via Flickr.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has asked its fellow Britons to submit homemade posters and signs created during the COVID-19 lockdown. Seen hung in windows around the world, these signs range from children’s rainbow drawings to official notices from business. The V&A intends to add a selection of these posters into its national collection.

Brendan Cormier, a design curator at the V&A, said in a statement to The Guardian:

We could be deluged. There is also the risk with a public callout that you don’t get anything. I don’t think you ever get quite the number you’re hoping for. We’re asking for patience from people … it might take us some time to sort through them and decide which are the most useful and relevant for us to take.

The museum opted to forgo a specific set of submission guidelines, and will allow the public to nominate which signs should be inducted. According to Cormier, the goal of this project is to capture what life is really like during this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. “We are tasked with creating a record of our times,” he told The Guardian. Some rainbow drawings honoring National Health Service workers will be added to the collection of the V&A Museum of Childhood, which is set to reopen in 2022 following a £13-million ($16 million) renovation.

The call for signs is part of the V&A’s “Pandemic Objects” initiative that “compiles and reflects on objects that have taken on new meaning and purpose during the coronavirus outbreak.” The V&A has been exploring new ways of collecting since it launched its Rapid Response Collecting program in 2014. Acquisitions made through this program aim to raise questions around globalization, social and political change, technology, and the law. In July 2019, the museum acquired various artifacts related to the global environmental justice group, Extinction Rebellion, through the program.

Further Reading: COVID-19 Relief Funds for Artists You Can Support

Daria Simone Harper
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019