How do you create a legacy and sense of community with V&A families?

May 21, 2019

Through the V&A Families Programme we work with thousands of parents, carers, and children every year. So how do we make families feel like they are part of a wider community? And how do we provide opportunities for them to reflect on their V&A experience after they leave the museum?

We invite them back and find out – giving them a reason to visit again, in person or online.

In a 2018 project, families contributed their own embroidered patches to a pattern for a garment, working with ONEBYME, sustainable fashion designers. These garments were then made and displayed at the museum for families to try on, encouraging them to return and see how their work and that of other families had been transformed into a piece of clothing. We had lots of families wanting to see the finished piece after the summer holidays had ended, so have been exploring ways to develop this longer-term engagement.

The Imagination Station with ONEBYME © V&A

We are now looking forward to May half-term, where families will be working with Fallen Fruit art collective as part of the new V&A exhibition FOOD: Bigger than the Plate. Through a playful and collaborative making activity on The Imagination Station families will make art for a magazine on the Fallen Fruit website. This will be viewable from all over the world, and will hopefully remind families of their visit. This project will also fulfil many of our wider ambitions for the V&A Families programme: promoting creative thinking, intergenerational engagement and playful interaction with the V&A collection, whilst also exploring an artistic medium – in this case collage. Even though the event is marketed for families, we welcome anyone to join our long sociable craft tables.

For our work, we are committed to making artworks that celebrate the public and local history. We love to make art with people. Storytelling and artmaking during the events become … a portrait of the place or everyone who is there that day. The magazine itself becomes an artwork that is made from the public and by the public. Much of the art work we make is serialized work and the collections represent cities around the world. In this way, the works are extending and reactivating in different ways, new exhibitions and practices.’ – Fallen Fruit

The Imagination Station © V&A

The project will run from 10.30 – 17.00, five days in a row from 25 – 31 May 2019. This approach to programming is about inclusion, enabling as many people to take part as possible. It also opens up a dialogue with our audience, and encourages them to exchange stories and knowledge.

Through contributing to a global project we hope that families will feel part of something bigger, as they are connected to other families across the world. When the magazine appears online we’ll post about it through our families e-newsletter and will produce a limited edition of the magazine for our education centre. We hope this project will build on our initiative of creating a community of V&A Families by enabling us to re-connect with audiences after the event.

July update

The Fallen Fruit Magazine V&A Edition, #7, has been created and can be viewed here. This is the first iteration of the magazine, and additional pages will be added after the The Imagination Station activity takes place again in August.

© Fallen Fruit, David Allen Burns and Austin Young

About the author

May 21, 2019

Harriet Curnow joined the V&A in 2011 after a ten-year career at Tate where she held a variety of roles including the Acting Head of Young People’s Programmes and curatorial...

More from Harriet Curnow
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