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Young V&A to open in London this summer after £13m refurbishment


The V&A has announced that the museum dedicated to children and young people will reopen this summer after a more than £13 million refurbishment.

Site in Bethnal Greenwhich dates back to 1872, was previously called the V&A Museum of Childhood, but will reopen on July 1 under the rebranding of the Young V&A.

Designed for children aged under 14, the space aims to inspire the next generation of artists, designers, performers and practitioners with hands-on experiences, special exhibitions and 2,000 works from the V&A’s art and design collection.

Along with family-friendly exhibitions and a program of free events, there will be curated spaces designed for children and teenagers.

There will be colorful and tactile sensory landscapes for babies and toddlers, while young readers and writers will be able to express their creative skills during performance and storytelling.

An open design studio will also allow children to learn from leading designers and state-of-the-art displays, while a game design space will be aimed at young teenagers.

An interactive Minecraft installation will also be in the play area, which will begin with the Young V&A’s reconstruction of the town square and then transport visitors to real and imagined worlds created by Minecraft players around the world.

New murals by street artist Mark Mallarck, known for his cartoon-like characters, will also be on display, as well as new portraits by photographer Rehan Jamil, who has captured young people expressing what creativity means to them and placed them next to themselves. portraits of creators including Sir Quentin Blake, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Linda McCartney.

The Design Gallery will also work to highlight how design can help people express themselves by exhibiting 1,913 prints, including those designed by The Suffrage Atelier calling for equality for women, works by XR Families Group encouraging children to express their environmental concerns through arts and crafts, and works by youth climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Meanwhile, the first exhibition at the newly renovated museum will take viewers on a journey through Japanese history to discover how landscape and folklore have influenced popular culture, technology and design.

Opening on October 14, Japan: Myths to Manga will include events and feature films such as 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro and 2008’s Ponyo from Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli.

A manga-style coat by Comme des Garcons, heelless shoes by Noritaka Tatehana, Pokemon and a moving installation of 1,000 cranes – a symbol of remembrance from the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan – will also be on display.

Director of the V&A, Tristram Hunt, said: “Children and young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and its aftermath, as well as the dramatic decline in creative education in schools.

“Young V&A is our answer: a flagship project that invests in creativity with and for young people and their future.

“We are using our stunning collection of art, design and performance to open the nation’s favorite design club to all children and young people.

“Through new galleries and exhibitions, from children’s spaces to teenage play design rooms, our plan is to nurture the next generation of British artists, thinkers, makers, innovators and entrepreneurs.”

MP for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanari Ali said: “A young V&A is urgently needed. As the new premier destination for children, young people and their adults, it exists to inspire young people to explore their creative talents and as a space for people to come together in Bethnal Green, East London.

“Located in an area known for its vibrant culture, creativity and extraordinary history, but with the highest rate of child poverty in the country, the Young V&A will help transform the life chances of children both in my constituency and across the country and create a fantastic new museum and cultural space for London and Great Britain’.


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