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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V&A/RCA History of Design students and staff at Ironbridge, photographer: Katrina Royall.

History of Design: The New Term Has Started!

by Christine Guth and Simona Valeriani   The new term has started! The first year cohort of 24 students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme has arrived. These students from 8 countries have joined the second year and MPhil, PHD students already enrolled on the course. After introductions to the spaces, the people […]

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social-design-futures-cover-image

Making Social Design Public

It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to go public on a project that you’ve had your head and heart immersed in for a long time. No doubt my colleagues at the V&A who curate exhibitions, edit publications or organise public events feel the same. But at the same time there is the exhilaration of not knowing […]

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Malcolm Baker in the White  Drawing Room at Waddesdon Manor. Photograph by Katherine Elliott, 2014

Talking Heads

An Object Lesson with Malcolm Baker   As we walked from the beautiful red ante chamber to the white drawing room, the sun came through the clouds and gently lit the eight striking faces of Alexander Pope.     It was in this rather magical setting that Curator, Professor, Art Historian and V&A Honorary Senior […]

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Salon panel from left to right: Rachel Aldred, Carlton Reid, Kat Jungnickel (Chair), Justin Spinney and Jenni Gwiazdowski.

How is the Urban Mobile Cyclist Designed?

Reflections on Design Culture Salon 10: How is the Urban Mobile Cyclist designed?  The question of whether or not you choose to cycle to work is more than a practical decision: it can reveal a lot about our gender, social background and personality. It also forces us to behave in particular ways. Friction between cyclists, […]

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Pyramus and Thisbe (detail)

Love and Nature in a Gold Beaker

An outstanding object in the wonderful Gilbert Collection  of the V&A caught my eye as curator Heike Zech and assistant curator Melodie Doumy took me around the storage facilities while the galleries are being renovated. My own research concerns the early modern Kunstkammer and this wondrous object made me think that in essence it could […]

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Growing Donations (photo: Jonathan Rowley)

Money No Object at the Digital Design Weekend

Early on the morning of 19th September, while it was still dark, I awoke to booms of thunder shaking the windows, and torrential rain clattering on the roof. This did not bode well for the weekend ahead, when my design interactions project, Money No Object, was due to be showcased outdoors, in the garden of […]

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Young Man

Object pitch day 1 – Wednesday 3rd September 2014

Object pitch day 1 – Wednesday 3rd September 2014 For the first phase of ‘A history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds’, we invited staff from across the V&A to help us identify the ideal object of focus for this collaborative project by responding to the following question: “If you were asked to choose the […]

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English leather buff coat, 1640-1650, t.34-1948. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

In The Buff

The Military Buff coat: A haptic experience During my time as an MA student on the V&A/RCA History of Design course I came across a word, haptic, that has fascinated me ever since. Both its sound when spoken and its meaning have resonated with me since I first heard the word and has often shaped my […]

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Conference delegates inaugurate the SDU Kolding Campus lecture theatre seating.

Design Culture: Object, Discipline and Practice

Press releases, exhibition catalogues, design magazines, cultural policy wonks and TV commentators have been increasingly talking about ‘the design culture’ of a place, a particular historical period or even a studio. In this, they are attempting to shift the emphasis away from the finished objects of design to a broader analysis of everyday understandings and […]

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Panamericana (flag 1) version II, 2011 by Alexandre da Cunha, courtesy of the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery

Brazil Contemporary Event at the V&A – Part 6 Alexandre da Cunha

Part 6 – Discussion of his own work in relation to the themes of a Brazilian Vernacular Alexandre da Cunha, Artist     With the generous support of the Embassy of Brazil in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum  brings together practitioners, writers, academics and curators working in Brazil and the UK in the fields of […]

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