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.

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DesignLab Nation: hidden connections

Emmanuel Cooper (1938-2012), Striped Dish, 1970, stoneware with black and white slips under bone-ash glaze, CIRC.490-1970 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Written by V&A/ University of Brighton, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Student Joanna Weddell The V&A recently announced that it will use the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize money to fund DesignLab Nation, a programme to support design education in secondary schools, working with local museums, initially in Coventry and Blackburn. This blog […]

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Photography and the Creation of the Royal Albert Hall Mosaic Frieze

Detail of the Royal Albert Hall’s mosaic frieze, showing the section Agriculture by H. Stacy Marks. Photography by S. M. Harris

This is one of a series of blog posts by students from the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It is written by Susan Harris. When visiting the Royal Albert Hall, […]

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Illustrating the Process is a Process

Museum Outside the Box illustration by Eileen Budd

One of my responsibilities as Project Manager for VARI, is tracking and documenting the progress of our projects.  I’m a big fan of the classics for this; spreadsheets and report writing, but its always struck me there are some things these methods miss out on. We often talk about projects as if they are clockwork objects, you simply look […]

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‘Unsurpassed Genius’: Godfrey Sykes and the Royal Albert Hall

terracotta cast

  This is one of a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It is written by Ruth Sykes.       Godfrey Sykes […]

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Terracotta and the Royal Albert Hall: The Spirit of Albertopolis

The façade of the Royal Albert Hall, with terracotta decorations

This is the first in a series of blog posts by students of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme, to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display at the V&A in Room 127 (the entrance to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. It was written by Elena Porter. The display showcases -amongst other […]

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Recreating Sixteenth-Century Varnishes on the History of Design Course

Brushing the glaze over the paint

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Against a Pile of Ashes

The following is the lead catalogue essay for ‘A World of Fragile Parts’, the inaugural exhibition for the Pavilion of Applied Arts at the Venice Biennale, which was on display last year for the duration of the Architecture Biennale. The exhibition was curated by Brendan Cormier and Danielle Thom, and looked at how the V&A’s 19th […]

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Experiments with Amber: Recreating an Early Modern Varnish Recipe on the History of Design Course

Amber varnish experimental lab class

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Making Azurite. Part 2

Different shades of azurite

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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Windowdressing with Palladio the VARI way

This May, in collaboration with Royal College of Art / V&A History of Design students, VARI Visiting Professor Guido Beltramini curated a rotating microexhibition in the window of his office, drawn from the RIBA/V&A collections.  ‘Palladio Drawing of the Week’ was seen by all the visitors to the Research Department at the V&A — the […]

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