What will be in the Young V&A when it opens this summer?

Gallery highlights include an open design studio and an interactive Minecraft installation, while the first exhibition is announced as Japan: Myths to Manga.

The Young V&A has announced the highlights of its permanent gallery as well as its first exhibition when it reopens after a £13 million, three-year transformation on 1 July 2023.

The Bethnal Green-based museum, formerly the V&A Museum of Childhood was redesigned with and for 0-14 year olds, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of artists, designers, performers and practitioners.

View across the Design Gallery. Image by Picture Plane.

The designs were created through a co-design process with children to encourage playful learning, share inspiring stories of children’s creativity, and foster creative agency with an open design studio space and interactive exhibits.  Now the Young V&A has released new highlights for its permanent spaces across its Play, Imagine and Design galleries.

Now key details of exhibits and exhibitions have been revealed. These include an interactive Minecraft installation within the game design space, ‘The Arcade’. The installation, which takes visitors through worlds created by players worldwide, is built by Blockworks, a design collective that uses Minecraft “to create experiences, communities and learning environments” according to the team. The project will also be supported by Mojang Studios, the game developer behind Minecraft, and Microsoft.

My Little Pony – Blossom, 1983, undergoing conservation work.

One display will show the new tech solutions created by young people made for Raspberry Pi’s Coolest Projects competition – including a gas leak detector designed by 11-year-old Sashrika Das and the EleVoc 2022 human-elephant conflict device by 14-year-old Chinmayi Ramasubramanian.

Coolest Projects Display – Design Helps us Learn. Raspberry Pi Foundation

Design’s political power is given a youthful angle through artwork from the XR Families Group, works by youth climate activist Great Thunberg as well as 1913 prints designed by The Suffrage Atelier.

“Hands-on” creative learning spaces will support curriculum-based provision for school learners as well as after-school and holiday activities for families and young people.

Young V&A Youth Collective members have a tour of the museum construction site.

The museum has also announced its first exhibition: Japan: Myths to Manga, opening on 14 October 2023. The ageless and timeless appeal of Studio Ghibli’s work will feature through its films My Neighbour Totoro (1988) and Ponyo (2008), as well as Doodle Champion Island Games (2021) a role-playing browser game created by Google with Studio 4C, and an installation of 1,100 cranes from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan, made each year by children all over the world to the young victims of the Hiroshima bombing of 1945.

My Neighbour Totoro, Studio Ghibli

Citing how children and young people had been “disproportionately affected by the pandemic and its aftermath”, as well as the fall in creative education within schools, director of the V&A Dr Tristram Hunt says that the Young V&A is a response to the situation through its “investment in creativity with and for young people and their futures”.

Meanwhile Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, where Young V&A is located expects the museum to be able to reflect the diversity of the area, while “providing opportunities to children and young people” within the constituency, the capital and nationally.

Young V&A opens on Saturday 1 July 2023 at Cambridge Heath Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PA. All images courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.






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