V&A launches open-call for homemade signs and rainbow drawings

Julie Boganowicz

The V&A has launched an open-call for homemade signs and rainbow drawings created during the coronavirus lockdown to enter its permanent collection.

The museum is seeking anything from rainbow signs by children to shop signs and handwritten notes posted in public places, created by individuals and communities.

According to the V&A, homemade signs have become popular during social distancing, from those stating the closure of businesses to signs expressing messages of hope.

In its collection, the V&A hopes to preserve a portrait of life under lockdown, also offering an insight into the history of signage.

Documenting the COVID-19 pandemic with the V&A

V&A homemade signs

Julie Boganowicz

“Due to social distancing measures, what we’ve seen during this crisis is an enormous amount of written communication taking place in the public sphere from home windows to shop fronts,” said Brendan Cormier, a design curator who is co-leading the initiative.

“The sum effect of these signs are that communities are organizing and expressing themselves through the means they have available; by doing so it forms a powerful reflection of the crisis itself.”

Rainbow drawings and imagery produced by children will be collected, joining more than 40,000 child-related objects in the V&A collection.

“The global pandemic has sequestered children in their homes,” said Gina Koutsika, director of the V&A Museum of Childhood.

Members of public can submit handmade signs to V&A

“Across the UK, inspired by global projects, and encouraged by their teachers and parents, they have been crafting rainbow images to hang in their windows.

“Bringing cheer to others in what is a disconcerting and potentially frightening time, this is exactly the kind of project to build creative confidence that the new Museum of Childhood is exhorting in its audiences.”

Members of the public are invited to submit images of their homemade signs via the email address homemadesigns@vam.ac.uk.

The V&A’s expert curators will decide on homemade signs that enter the collection, and everyone can take part on social media by sharing signs they have seen using #homemadesigns.

The global outbreak of COVID-19 is having a huge impact on museums, and more are working to document the pandemic and how it has affected people’s lives.