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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What Does it Take to Work in a Museum?

Training week for Second Year Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) students [Note: The V&A and a number of other cultural organisations co-supervise several cohorts of CDP students. CDP students are a category of AHRC-funded PhD students, who work closely with both a university and a cultural organisation and are supervised by both.] For four days in […]

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One of Dr. Gygi’s hoarding subjects in Tokyo. © Fabio Gygi, 2014

Too Much Is Not Enough: Attitudes Toward Accumulation and Hoarding in Japan

by EVE ZAUNBRECHER The popularity of reality TV shows such as Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive have introduced hoarding into popular culture and have raised interesting debates about rampant consumerism and the politics of mental health disorders. Hoarders, once dismissed as ‘pack rats’ or ‘messies’, have now been located on the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder spectrum […]

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Moroccan Fashion Designers in the 1960s

By M. Angela Jansen Visiting Scholar in the Research Department at the V&A Very little research has been conducted on the first generation of Moroccan fashion designers who emerged in Casablanca in the 1960s. This is remarkable when you think that at the time they had not only caught the attention of the renowned editor-in-chief […]

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Epic Object Disintegration, and Other Tales from the Registered Files

“Director – It is my duty to report the breakage of a Glass Huqa-bowl on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum for the Royal Academy Exhibition of Indian Art.” So begins a letter dated November 21st 1947, explaining a tragic accident that took place while an object was being prepared for exhibition. “At the […]

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Matthäus Schwarz in his outfit for the Imperial Diet of 1530

The fashionable accountant – Reconstructing his best outfit

by Katy O’Neill and Francesca Butcher ‘Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste.’ Alexander McQueen   A first impression of the garish red and yellow outfit depicted [above] would seem to contradict McQueen’s call for subtlety. Yet, as Professor Ulinka Rublack explained in a recent seminar in the V&A/RCA History of Design […]

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Design Culture Salon 12, V&A Museum

Fashion cycles and design culture

Anyone standing outside the disciplines of fashion and design research might be surprised to discover that conversations between the two are not as fluid or productive as they might be. Within the art school, for instance, the two are taught as quite distinct disciplines with their own traditions, cultures and identities. Recognising these boundaries and […]

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Jane Pavitt, Dean of School of Humanities (RCA), & Christopher Frayling, former RCA Rector, Senior Common Room, RCA. Photo by Roxanne Ravenhill

In Dialogue: Gillian Naylor (1931- 2014)

by Victoria de Lorenzo & Roxanne Ravenhill ‘If Sir Nikolaus Pevsner is the father of design history, then Gillian Naylor is its favourite aunt’ These were the words pronounced when Gillian Naylor (1931- 2014) received her Royal College of Art (RCA) higher doctorate in 1987 and they were still some of the most repeated words […]

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Pink bag

Today I went to the studio of one of London’s up and coming shoe designer to pick up a new acquisition that will feature in the exhibition: “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain”.   The exhibition will only open in June 2015. We are 6 months away; however, we are already very busy acquiring new objects for the […]

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A Surrey Cottage, 1880, watercolour by Helen Allingham. Courtesy of Burgh House & Hampstead Museum

Cottage Gardens: Fact or Fiction?

by Sophie Foan   The English are well known for their love of gardening. From village flower and produce shows to inner city allotments, evidence of this is manifest nationwide. The public have long enjoyed visiting the gardens of grand country houses made accessible by the National Trust, and programmes such as Gardener’s World are […]

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Where do you keep all your shoes?

Today Emma (exhibition assistant and I) have received a large delivery of shoes. But where do the museum keep all their shoes? This question has already been answered by Will ‘s post here. But what happens to the shoes once they have been selected by curators to become part of an exhibition? Now that the […]

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