Britain, by you

Add your own photo to The Museum of Youth Culture’s new exhibition
By Ella Joyce | Art | 16 June 2022

Bad Earrings for Bad People – Camden, 1986 by Shirley Baker

Since its founding in 2015, The Museum of Youth Culture has been on a mission to shine a light on the reality of growing up in Britain, debunking the story told by traditional press and sociology books through their ever-growing archive. This latest exhibition is set to land in Coventry’s Herbert Gallery over summer and is their biggest to date, charting the life of teenagers from the 1920s to the present day through photography, artefacts and personal stories.

Photography by Gavin Watson

A selection of work from renowned photographers including the likes of Gavin Watson, Lucy McCarthy and Tony Davis will sit alongside submissions from family albums across the country – so you may spot ya nan on the wall next to some Haçienda ravers. Chronicling the scenes, sounds and styles of a century’s worth of subcultures, artefacts from every decade will be displayed throughout: worn-out band tees, iconic magazine covers, gaming consoles and the bike every 70s kid craved: the Chopper. Immersive rooms will also be on hand to transport visitors back to their formative years, including poster-laden teenage bedrooms, first jobs and boozy nights down the local. The final gem is a scanning booth allowing visitors to submit their own photographs and ephemera to be included in the exhibition – before you leave make sure to contribute your own little corner of history. 

Photography by Babycakes Romero

Lisa der Weduwe of the Museum of Youth Culture explains; “During lockdown we invited the public to delve through shoeboxes, lofts and picture albums to radically diversify our collections and bring everyone’s story of growing up into the fray. By innovating a digital submissions portal we received an incredible 6000 photographs, objects and stories forming the Grown Up in Britain collection, and this exhibition is both a celebration and a thank you to all who have sent in their stories.”

Grown Up in Britain: 100 Years of Teenage Kicks will run at Herbert Art Gallery & Museum from July 1st – February 12th 2023.


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