Research

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.

Back to the blog front page

Filming the History of Design experimental lab class

techne video

Two second-year students who took part in the techne seminar/lab, Vivien Chan and Charlotte Slark, created a series of videos to document the lab sessions in the module. Making the films posed various challenges and they offer a record of the changing thought processes, decisions, reflections and surprises that characterised this experimental class. Vivien and […]

Keep reading

Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: the Finished Varnishes

Different varnishes

This post was written by second-year student, Rebecca Goozee, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. The final lab session of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course’s ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ class took place in the relative comfort of the Blythe House […]

Keep reading

‘Sooner, or later’: Reflections on Design History studies

The cover of 'Sooner, or Later' (2016)

This post is written by Sophie Châtellier, Andrea Foffa and Vivien Chan, second-year students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course: Sooner, or later is the name of a student-led publication produced in the final term of our first year on the course, in summer 2016. The publication was conceived as a collaboration between […]

Keep reading

“Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’”: Experiments with Amber

Pulverising the amber

This post was written by History of Design MA students taking part in the course’s ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab class. Katie Vann, Melissa Tyler and Rebecca Goozee reflect on their experience of interpreting a varnish recipe from a sixteenth-century French manuscript, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris: The recipe presented us with various […]

Keep reading

Reflections on Christine Guth and Asian Design History at the V&A

Christine Guth in Istanbul

Christine Guth joined the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course in 2008 to lead its specialism in Asian Design History. Marking her retirement this summer, colleagues reflect on her contribution to the V&A. Curators from the Asian department, Anna Jackson and Rupert Faulkner, write: When Christopher Breward, then Head of Research, told us that Christine […]

Keep reading

‘Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’’: Re-creating a Sixteenth-Century Copal Varnish

Stirring the viscous copal mixture

This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. On a cold, blustery February morning we arrived at Blythe House, home to one of the largest storage facilities of the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were […]

Keep reading

Reimagining Objects: A History of Design Exhibition

Riding Jacket

  This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA. Tucked away from most of the museum is a small, light-filled library used by the V&A/RCA History of Design Masters Degree.  The course is internationally recognized as the leading postgraduate programme for the study of the History of […]

Keep reading

Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Cooking From a Sixteenth-Century Lavender Spike Oil Recipe

Heating lavender spike oil

This post was written by second-year students, Sophie Châtellier and Matilde Audisio, members of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students taking part in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab in the spring term. One of its aims was to recreate a series of recipes from a sixteenth-century French technical manuscript.   On […]

Keep reading

Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Revealing Object Histories with UV Light

Sixteenth-century case under normal light

  This post was written by second-year student, Letitia Calin, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab.   Early on in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar and lab course of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA we investigated a selection of early […]

Keep reading

Aiming for ‘Authenticity’: Re-Creating Early Modern Recipes on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA

jelly

This post was written by second-year student, Katie Vann, one of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. Before trying our hands at sixteenth-century varnish recipes, the class took up an initial experiment: following food recipes that were all over a hundred years old. With authentic re-creation […]

Keep reading