Research is a core activity of the V&A, and it grows out of our original commitment to advancing the arts and sciences that shape the world around us. The Research Department works with experts throughout the Museum and a wide range of external partners in increasing access to and understanding of the collections in our care, helping to make the world’s oldest and largest museum of art and design a leading centre for object-led learning at the interface between history, theory and practice.

The Research section of the V&A blog will offer progress reports and provocations, sneak previews and glimpses behind the scenes, from people working on and in our collections.

Image: Pair of suede shoes, made in England, 1950s. X-ray image by Paul Robins, Object Number T.12-1990. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Congratulations to V&A/RCA History of Design Class of 2015!

V&A/RCA History of Design Class of 2015. Image courtesy of Harriet Lane, 2015

Many congratulations to the V&A/RCA History of Design students, who graduated amidst the pomp and ceremony of the Albert Hall, last Friday, 3 July. We wish them all the very best in their future endeavours, as they go onto influence the worlds of art, design, education and whatever else they turn their eminently capable hands […]

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Our Private Pinterest Board: The best of our rejected contextual images


First I’d like to thank the wonderful guest bloggers we had over the past few months who have done a fantastic job of sharing their expertise and insight with us. We hope you’ve been enjoying these blogs posts as well. If so, you’ll be happy to hear we’ve enlisted even more amazing people to post in […]

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Glastonbury: A Living Installation


The last five days at Worthy Farm in Somerset were a midsummer night’s dream. With Friday’s empty slot on the Pyramid Stage remaining a mystery, the festival site was alive with rumour and expectation. Secret gigs and underground clubs were on everyone’s lips and despite the unsettling character of the festival’s micro-climate (blazing sunshine one moment […]

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In praise of ibid.

JP fig 1

The third guest post by graduating V&A/RCA History of Design students sees Joanne Pilcher put a fresh spin on the meaning of ‘ibid’. ‘ibid.: In the same source (used to save space in textual references to a quoted work which has been mentioned in a previous reference). Abbreviation of Latin ibidem ‘in the same place’.’ […]

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V&A/RCA History of Design Joins the Dots at ShowRCA

V&A/RCA History of Design at ShowRCA. Photo: Zara Arshad, 2015

In the second guest post by graduating V&A/RCA History of Design students, Chloe Frechette and Zara Arshad take us behind the scenes in a sneak preview of what’s on display at ShowRCA, which opens to the public today. For the past week, V&A/RCA History of Design students have created networks, combining key concepts and bright […]

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Persistence rewarded: the V&A’s Mughal coat


Hunting coat; embroidered satin with silk; 
Mughal Indian; 
c.1620 - 30.

The V&A’s Mughal embroidered coat  is well known as one of the finest surviving examples of Indian court dress, and has been frequently displayed and published since the Museum acquired it in 1947. But in spite of its superb quality, the coat was rejected for acquisition by V&A curators not once, but twice. Its owner was […]

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Showing Ourselves Up: History of Design at ShowRCA 2015

Planning the Show Network

In the first of a series of posts by graduating V&A/RCA History of Design students, Georgia Newmarch introduces the Class of 2015. Up on the fifth floor is the V&A’s best-kept secret: students from the V&A/RCA History of Design course hard at work in their course library. This collection, unknown to most of the museum’s […]

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V&A/RCA History of Design Open Day – Wednesday 1 July

V&A/RCA History of Design course library. Photographer: Richard Haughton

See this picture of the V&A/RCA History of Design course library at the museum? This space used to be the Royal College of Art’s drawing studio, but is now home to MA, MPhil and PhD students working on the widest range of histories through design and material culture, and histories of design. (This year student […]

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Guest Post: Installing Shoes- Pleasure and Pain


Second year student on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA, Joanne Pilcher takes us behind the scenes of the installation of the exhibition ‘Shoes Pleasure and Pain’. ……………. Recently Gallery 40 in the Victoria and Albert Museum has been a hubbub of activity as we have prepared for and installed everything for the exhibition ‘Shoes: Pleasure […]

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Guest Post: A Warrior’s Magic Shirt


Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam is an assistant curator in the Middle Eastern section at the V&A. Since she joined the Museum two years ago, she has carried out research on talismanic shirts and other objects of that type. Thanks to this expertise she was temporarily drafted onto the Fabric of India team when conservation work began […]

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