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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Tony Robinson (left), with Mick Aston and Guy de la Bédoyère on a dig for Channel 4’s Time Team, 2007 © Guy de la Bédoyère 2007

Object Pitch Day 8 – 26 November 2014 – Part 2

With only half an hour left, let’s get right back to the action in Seminar Room A. Time was running out on the first stage of a history of the OBJECT in 100 worlds, and with only three pitchers left, we knew lunchtimes at the V&A were about to get a lot more boring. Sob! […]

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Best laid plans: mapping the V&A by Andrew McIlwraith

Andrew McIlwraith is a PhD researcher in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. His research is funded by the AHRC Design Star Centre for Doctoral Training of which the V&A is a partner.   It’s no secret that the V&A is a complicated building. Even regular visitors may struggle […]

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Mr Punch, puppet, Arthur Quisto, UK, 1937 (made); 1994 (altered). Museum no. S.526-2012 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Object Pitch Day 8 – 26 November 2014 – Part I

We’d finally made it: the very last Object Pitches for a history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds. Befitting the occasion Bill Sherman was in a ruminative mood, reminding us that “the only rule is time.” And so we settled ourselves for the last lunchtime session, which included yet another member of the Research Department […]

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Victorian Futures: Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis  Conference Poster

Victorian Futures: Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis

BOOK YOUR PLACE A collaboration between University of the Arts London, Middlesex University and the Victoria and Albert Museum.   On 14 and 15 May 2015, Chelsea College of Arts will host a two-day conference, Victorian Futures Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis, a collaboration between Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of […]

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1.	Hans and Ambroise Holbein, ‘Folly Descends from the Pulpit’, marginal drawing in a copy of The Praise of Folly by Erasmus, pen and black ink, 1515, Kunstmuseum Basel

Exploring the Edge: The Significance of the Marginal

We love thinking about all kinds of material traces at the V&A – even those that might seem taboo, like writing, or even drawing, in books. Current History of Design MA student, Alicia Farrow, tackles a recent research paper by the V&A’s Head of Research, Professor Bill Sherman, which celebrates what might seem to be […]

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ProtoPublics Sprint Workshop, Lancaster, 16-17 April 2015.

Prototyping social design research

ProtoPublics Sprint Workshop, Lancaster, 16-17 April 2015. ‘Agile’, ‘creative’ and ‘participatory’ are not words usually associated with (what is sometimes perceived to be) the slow and exclusive world of academic research. But on 16-17 April, a group of 45 researchers from the arts and humanities got together in Lancaster to explore, test and push these boundaries at […]

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In the Thick of It

What a month it has been! To all who missed a blog post last week, we can only apologise. We were all simply swamped! Over the past few weeks we’ve been working hard to complete the first draft of the exhibition label text, sort layout issues, make final changes to the book design, and take […]

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Pyramid Stage

Glastonbury Installation Series: Part 3, Politics

Politics is the third and final theme of this year’s Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. Alongside music and weather, it is conceptualised as an ‘invisible scenography’ by the Artistic Director of the Quadrennial, Sodja Lotker. Much like more traditional conceptions of design and space, politics profoundly shapes our environment and our behaviour within that […]

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Don’t miss out! V&A/IHR Early Modern Material Cultures Seminars 2015 start next Wednesday 15 April

If you’ve not already made a note in your diary, here’s another quick reminder that the V&A/IHR Early Modern Material Cultures Seminars 2015 start next Wednesday 15 April. We are delighted that Dr Jerzy Gawronski from the University of Amsterdam will be opening the new season with a paper titled, ‘The VOC-ship Amsterdam lost in 1749. […]

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The Jerusalem Tavern: an example of domestic repurposing

It’s the drink talking (and walking)

Who says intoxication gets in the way of learning? Current V&A/RCA History of Design student Magnus Copps describes a pub crawl like no other: one that stays completely sober until the very last stop. We’ll leave it to Magnus to explain how that one works… As a second-year History of Design student – preparing a dissertation […]

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