Brighton’s Protest Stickers: Coronavirus

It is not uncommon in Brighton to find junction boxes painted by street artists and for advertising. This one is a recent addition to the Brighton streetscape (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Church Street, 03/08/20).

Disease is not political, but how we cope with it most definitely is. The Coronavirus epidemic has sparked a whole range of political debates, from the effectiveness of the government’s handling of the crisis, to the necessity of facemasks, to the questionable link between the virus and 5G. I have written before about how people interacted with urban streets differently during lockdown in Brighton and Hull, but as the lockdown eased coronavirus has started to crop up in the protest stickers I have spotted as I move around Brighton (in a safe and socially distanced manner, of course!)

People engaged with their surroundings in new ways during the lockdown. Homemade signs in windows quickly spilled out onto streets and footpaths (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Dyke Railway Trail, 25/04/20).
My instinct is that this isn’t a genuine product of the Brighton and Hove City Council, but I suppose it’s a possibility! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Providence Place, 18/06/20).
The pandemic has sparked a lot of conspiracy theories. The Shropshire Corona Resilience Network is a Facebook Group which posts various conspiracies about coronavirus (Photo: Hannah Awcock, London Road, 18/06/20).
Other conspiracy theories question the origins of coronavirus. These stickers are advertising a Youtube documentary about the origins of what it calls the ‘Chinese Communist Party Virus’, which suggests that the virus did not really originate in a food market (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 20/05/20, Brighton seafront).
The Corbett Report claims to be an independent news sources and has been promoting conspiracy theories since 2007. It is no surprise that he has something to say about coronavirus (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Madeira Drive, 03/08/20).
Not all of the protest stickers and posters I’ve found are promoting conspiracy theories. This poster is demanded PPE and testing to protect NHS workers (Photo: Hannah Awcock, East Street, 18/06/20).
There isn’t much of this poster left, but it is mimicking the aesthetic used by the government in the “Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives” posters. I think this poster is suggesting people “Stay Home. Boo for Boris. Sack Cummings.” (Although it “Sack” could be something more rude”!) (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Madeira Drive, 03/08/20).
This sticker has also been partially removed, but I think it says something along the lines of “Anti Social Distance Resistance”, which could be pro-social distancing, but I suspect is actually against it. (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Madeira Drive, 03/08/20).
Before the virus, if a person was wearing a face mask in a protest sticker or piece of street art, it meant they were an anarchist, or radical activists. Nowadays they are just as likely to be a conscientious individual doing their civic duty. I think this sticker is pre-virus, but it an interesting example of how the meanings of symbols can shift and change (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Madeira Drive, 03/08/20).
I think that this sticker is also pre-virus, but again its meaning has shifted because of the current situation we find ourselves in. I hope it is correct! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, North Street, 03/08/20).
I think we have all had this thought once or twice over the last few months! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Marine Parade, 03/08/20).

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