The V&A is looking to inspire the world’s future generations of designers with a series of creative lockdown challenges aimed at seven- to 11-year-olds.
As the country continues to adjust to lockdown measures put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, and no definitive reopening date in sight for UK schools, finding creative ways to engage children has become a top priority for many.
The #LetsMakeWednesdays initiative will each week challenge children to use household objects to design something inspired by the museum’s extensive collection of artefacts and exhibits, while learning along the way the “basic principles of design” – like considering materials and prototyping.
“Problem solving, creative confidence and resilience”
The motivation behind the initiative is two-fold. With museum doors remaining closed, the initiative itself is a way for the V&A to continue its educational outreach programmes in the wider community; while the choice to focus on design practices was informed by the proven benefits these have on child development.
As V&A head of learning and digital programming Elizabeth Galvin tells Design Week: “The V&A has a world-class educational outreach programme, and in these times, we wanted to bring this experience online and champion the importance of creativity.”
The importance of creativity, Galvin says, can not be understated. In the most basic of understandings, these challenges are invitations for children to get crafting, but beyond this they are exercises in “problem solving, creative confidence and resilience”, she adds.
“Engaging with design challenges and creative thinking through making is a great way for families to practice these skills.”
“Stepping into the shoes of a designer”
The #LetsMakeWednesdays initiative kicked off last week with a challenge inspired by the V&A’s fashion archives. It aimed to get children to “step into the shoes of a designer”.
Four items from the V&A’s collection were chosen for inspiration: the “Breakfast Dress” worn by Dame Edna; a nineteenth century Japanese sleeping coverlet; a “Bingo” jacket created by designer Jim O’Connor; and a wild rubber dress designed by Vivienne Westwood and Andres Kronthaler.
This week will see the challenge delve into the museum’s theatre and performance collections. Inviting children and their families to build their own story and bring it to life, the challenge will tackle costume design, creating a narrative and set design.
Participants are encouraged to draw inspiration from likes of a gold German clock from the 1500s, the Cartier Manchester Tiara and a model set of Kensington Gardens by 18th century designer Philip James de Loutherbourg (pictured in page banner) – all of which are part of the museum’s collection.
Galvin ends by telling Design Week that families can expect a host of creative prompts in the weeks to come, including “topics such as recycling and materials, accessibility, games design and more.”
To find out more about this week’s #LetsMakeWednesdays prompt, visit the V&A’s blog, or check out its social media. Participants are encouraged to share their work by using the hashtag.
All images courtesy of the V&A.