The V&A has announced an open-call for homemade signs created during lockdown to enter its permanent collection. From rainbow signs created by children to shop signs and hand-written notes posted in public spaces, the V&A is seeking signs that have been created by individuals and communities in response to the current isolation measures.
During social distancing, homemade signs have become commonplace on our streets. Whether they state temporary closure of a business, express messages of hope or critique, or raise awareness for a good cause, these signs have become a prominent way for us to communicate with the outside world during lockdown. By collecting such artefacts, the V&A aims to create and preserve a rich portrait of life under lockdown expressed through visual imagery.
Variations of rainbow drawings and imagery, which have been produced by children over the past few weeks as a message of hope and support, will be collected as an important symbol of children’s creativity and their voice within our society, especially during adversity. The acquired rainbow signs will join over 40,000 child-related objects in the V&A’s collection including toys, costumes and digital media.
Members of the public are encouraged to submit images of their homemade signs via the email address email@example.com. Expert curators from across the museum will decide on homemade signs that enter the collection. Everyone can also take part in the discussion on social media by sharing signs they have seen and using the #homemadedesigns.
This activity will form an important part of the museum’s work in documenting the crisis, alongside its Pandemic Objects blog series and a series of forthcoming acquisitions for the Rapid Response collection.