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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Time for Time

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by Charlotte Johnson, Assistant Curator   Time seems straightforward. It is a constant part of our everyday lives; when we look at the time on our smartphones’ lock screen, when we glance down at our watches, even when watching intently as the seconds count down to the ping of the microwave. Clocks and watches have […]

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V&A Podcast: Salon III – ‘Europe through non-European Eyes’

Coffer, late 16th century - early 17th century, Japan. Museum no. FE.33-1983, Purchased with the assistance of the Garner Fund, © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Meeting once again in the Europe Galleries on the 10th February, our esteemed guests were challenged with the task of flipping their perspective on the history of Europe, and looking at it from the outside in, under February’s Salon theme: ‘Europe through non-European Eyes’. Our three speakers were José Ramón Marcaida (CRASSH at the University […]

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The Moroccan Fashion Designer Naima Bennis (1940-2008)

Female gandura (a garment that was initially only worn by men before Moroccan  fashion designers introduced it for women in elegant fabrics and colours), made of a fluid printed silk and decorated with characteristic loop braids called sfifa. Designed by Naima Bennis, c. 1970. V&;A: ME.16-2015

By M. Angela Jansen Visiting Scholar in the Research Department at the V&A The main aim of the Moroccan Fashion project  at the V&A is to establish a representative collection of Moroccan men and women’s urban fashion from the postcolonial period to the present. The 1960s and 70s especially have been a high priority area, […]

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V&A Podcast: Salon II: ‘Europa and Britannia’

Valance, Unknown, about 1790, England, Museum no. T.63-1936, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

There is a beautiful timeliness to the ‘What Was Europe?’ Salon series, which was seen particularly in the most recent Salon’s theme: ‘Europa vs. Britannia’. For the title of the Salon, we see ‘Europa’, the name of the goddess from Ancient Greek mythology, famed for her abduction by Zeus in the form of a white […]

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Rut Bryk 1916-1999

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This post was written by Joanna Weddell, Researcher at the University of Brighton. She is currently completing an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award entitled Disseminating Design, which examines the regional impact of the Circulation Department in the post-war period 1947-77. To mark the centenary of her birth, this post features the work of Finnish designer and ceramic […]

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V&A Podcast: Salon I: ‘Where was Europe?’

The Globe, installation by the Cuban art collective Los Carpinteros

To celebrate the opening of the new Europe 1600-1815 galleries, the V&A, with the support of the British Academy, is hosting a series of Salon evenings. Leading academics and ‘rising stars’ in research right now have been invited to discuss variations on the overarching theme of the series, the question: “What Was Europe?” The events […]

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A Chemise for Clean Comfort

T.148-1961

Chemise

Unknown
possibly Great Britain
1851
Linen, trimmed at the neck with muslin frill

In a meeting late last week, a colleague was talking about the importance of caring for your clothes, and loving and enjoying a garment for something other than its newness. In Japan, certain traditions fold around their cultural idea that material (and so, by association, clothing) grows more beautiful with age and wear. There is […]

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5…4…3…2…1… The Fabric of India enters its final week

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A very Happy New Year to you! It seems like only yesterday that we were scrambling to get the last objects into their cases and put the finishing touches on the displays. Yet somehow three months have already flown by and we are now in our last week. The Fabric of India closes January 10th, […]

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Filming Fifi

Fifi Chachnil holds up a pair of her classic bloomers during filming © Bridget Veal

AV (= Audio Visual – so, this tends to mean film) material has become an expected feature in exhibition design. While we don’t want this material to distract from the objects themselves, film and sound can be a great way to further engage with visitors and add to the exhibition’s mood and atmosphere. With the […]

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When there’s too much to say…

T.114-1939 Riding Corset

As the Curator of Undressed I have spent much of the past month writing the exhibition text. There are 160 object labels, and ten 150 word pieces for the panels which introduce the exhibition and each of its nine sections. Every object in the exhibition has to work hard to justify its presence: it needs […]

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