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#LettersOfConstraint

‘Letters of Constraint’ was an open invitation to write a reflective letter during the Covid-19 lockdown. The generously shared words offer a glimpse of mass societal constraint, told through individual experiences of isolation over a six-week time frame.

We encouraged people to spend a mindful moment writing personal insights into their confinement, recording everyday feelings, moments, and observations. The typed and handwritten letters articulate multiple perspectives, magnifying hope, hopelessness, inequality, resilience, and vulnerability.

An open letter from Andrea-Hadley Johnson, our Artistic Programme Manager at the National Justice Museum:

“A heartfelt thank you to everyone who offered thoughts, observations and feelings to #LettersOfConstraint. The letters articulate uncertainty and fear along with beautiful moments of kindness, hope and connectivity. They arrived from across the country, from people living in prison, people juggling home schooling with work, people embracing the momentary calm or struggling with lack of human contact. We hope that the act of writing has provided space for reflection and that the shared letters encourage connection, empathy and solidarity.”

The letters will join the museums existing archive collection to provide a snapshot of life from many perspectives within this historically significant time. With our writer in residence Dr Martin Glynn and V21 Artspace, the letters have been shaped into a digital book and added to the ‘Constraint Restraint’ virtual exhibition.

Read the digitized letters here:

Book one

Book two

Book three

See and hear writer in residence Dr. Martin Glynn’s letters to Coronavirus here: Constraint Restraint’ virtual gallery 

Watch films made by volunteers of themselves reading the letters. This sharing of words between strangers has been a powerful act of solidarity and empathy. View films here.

Enter the Constraint/Restraint virtual exhibition here. Click on the vertical column of pink circles to view ‘Letters of Constraint’ content.