Displays and Interventions – local responses to Covid-19

Flower pot figues on display in Buxton, Derbyshire during the Covid-19 lockdown.

by Andrew Robinson

The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in numerous communal and individual responses to the impact of virus and the resulting lockdown across the U.K. that have been widely shared and often copied in both the physical and online worlds.

Many of these activities have developed spontaneously as new customs and rituals, from the communal clapping on Thursday nights, to the display of rainbow drawings and teddy bears in front windows along with displays of scarecrows in gardens and beside roads.

Here at CCL, we are interested in such community responses to the crisis and along with other members of the team I’ve been collecting examples from my local neighbourhood during daily walks a small selection of which I include below.

Rainbows have been seen in many places despite the almost complete absence of any rain for most of lockdown.

Scarecrows have also been popular in many places – the Scarecrow on the left appeared on a Planes Road on the northern outskirts of Nottingham in early April in support of NHS keyworkers. A week or so after being erected a Boris mask was attached and not long after graffiti was added. Two months later the figure is still present if a little faded and the sans mask.

During May local residents organised a scarecrow festival to give children something to do and to provide something to look at on daily walks. Scarecrows have also been documented by other CLL members in and around Sheffield and the Peak District.

Curb Side Gifts have also been a common sight on streets across the country. A mixture spare time being used to clear out items, and the closure of charity shops and local tips along with far more people walking around the neighbourhood has led to fascinating offerings.

On one street nearby Fairy Doors appeared at the base of every tree and have survived now for nearly two months.

On another street, small inspirational quotes were pinned to every tree.

In Buxton, Derbyshire, a ‘Covid-19 Snake’ of painted stones gradually grew along the side of the Pavilion Gardens amassing more than 2000 pebbles. Similar snakes have appeared in other towns.

Photographs © Andrew Robinson, 2020.