design

Designing a movement -- Extinction Rebellion climate protest artifacts to go on display at London's V&A

Published 26th July 2019
A flag bearing the Extinction Symbol, acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe
Designing a movement -- Extinction Rebellion climate protest artifacts to go on display at London's V&A
Written by By Emily Dixon, CNN
London's Victoria and Albert Museum has acquired key artifacts associated with the Extinction Rebellion climate protest movement, which it will display from this weekend in its Rapid Response Collecting gallery.
The collection includes brightly colored flags, printing blocks bearing the movement's distinctive logo, the first pamphlet containing the group's "Declaration of Rebellion," and screen-printed patches featuring the movement's slogans: "Tell the Truth," "Beyond Politics," and "Rebel for Life."
Clive Russell, of the Extinction Rebellion Arts Group, said in a press release: "The Climate and Ecological emergency is THE issue of our time and art and design is crucial to our non-violent actions and communication."
The protest group, which was founded by British activists, has three aims: to get governments to declare a "climate emergency," reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and for citizens' assemblies to lead the government on climate and ecological justice.
It has been supported by a slew of academics, scientists and celebrities, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, British actress Emma Thompson and American actor Willem Dafoe.
Screen-printed patches bearing the key slogans of the Extinction Rebellion movement.
Screen-printed patches bearing the key slogans of the Extinction Rebellion movement. Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe
The V&A also acquired a digital file of the movement's logo, the Extinction Symbol, initially designed by the East London artist ESP and subsequently assumed by Extinction Rebellion.
At the V&A's partner Museum of Childhood, a high-visibility jacket worn by a child during an Extinction Rebellion protest will be displayed from August 9, as part of a wider exhibition focusing on the movement's engagement with families.
The movement's first 'Declaration of Rebellion,' alongside a printing block of the Extinction Symbol.
The movement's first 'Declaration of Rebellion,' alongside a printing block of the Extinction Symbol. Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe
Corinna Gardner, a senior curator of design at the V&A and the curator of the Rapid Response Collecting gallery, told CNN that the gallery acquires items that "strike at the big questions of today."
"Extinction Rebellion has captured the public imagination," Gardner said. "They, from the very outset, knew that design would be vital to generating public interest but also a push for change."
Pink and green flags carried during Extinction Rebellion protests
Pink and green flags carried during Extinction Rebellion protests Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe
"What is it we see when we see a protest like Extinction Rebellion? It's a unified, purposeful visual identity," she said. "The Extinction Symbol is a very impactful piece of design. It's immediately recognizable and it's immediately reproduce-able."
"Social activism needs a toolkit through which to amplify their ideas," Gardner said. "So much of that task falls to design."