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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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 2 Livia Rezende

Part 2 - Historical overview of the concept of Modernism in Brazilian design: Livia Rezende,  Tutor in History of Design, Victoria and Albert Museum / Royal College of Art     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 […]

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William Morris and the Hammersmith Socialist League, c.1880
© Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Romantic idealists

  In 1947, the immediate post-war period, the V&A Circulation department recruited three women who were to become legendary curators in their own V&A lifetime and beyond: Elizabeth Aslin (furniture), Shirley Bury (metalwork) and Barbara Morris (textiles, glass and ceramics).  In the late 1940s, a time of progressive socialism not just austerity, Bury and Morris […]

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

Brazilian Contemporary Event at the V&A – Part 1 Raul Schmidt Felippe Junior

This will be a series of seven videos, each was taken of the speakers at the Brazil Contemporary event that was held on the 21st March 2014 at the V&A. The videos will be released over the course of seven weeks.    Part 1 – Interview with Raul Schmidt Felippe Junior Collector of Brazilian Furniture […]

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Macro image of a five pence coin

Money No Object: An artist’s research exploring the future of currency and value

What will money look like in future? Will we continue to use designed, material objects such as coins, banknotes, credit cards and even mobile phones, in order to trade? If not, what might replace these physical tokens at the point of exchange, or become an alternative to these tangible representations of value? What about the […]

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Plan for the Horticultural Society for the 1862 International Exhibition, 52:227. Victoria and Albert Museu, London

Beyond natural beauty, bounty and national boundaries: actualising the debate on the “Brazilian Contemporary” in art, architecture and design

By Livia Rezende, Tutor in History of Design, Victoria and Albert Museum / Royal College of Art   Brazilians have been coming to South Kensington to show and debate art and design since at least 1862. For the International Exhibition taking place that year at the Royal Horticultural Society (today the Natural History and the […]

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Cigarette box, made by Archibald Knox, made in Birmingham, UK, 1903-4. M.15-1970
Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

The Bed Box

Wonderful story about how the Museum acquired a silver box, as well as drawings, by Archibald Knox from the potter Rosemary Wren.  The speaker is David Coachworth who came to work in the V&A in 1963, now retired. Rosemary’s mother, the potter Denise Wren, had been a student of Knox’s and couldn’t resist buying the box with money she was supposed […]

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Moda Italiana two volumes on Glamour of Italian Fashion Research bookshelves, Research Department. Lucia Savi, 2014

La Moda Italiana and the Glamour of Italian Fashion

  Part of my job here at the V&A’s research department, besides working as a research assistant on the exhibitions “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014” and “Shoes: pleasure and pain”; is to promote and undertake new research as well as to engage with audiences and colleagues from across the world. One of the ways of […]

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Photo of Film poster, My Architect (2003).

Louis Kahn: the architect’s architect?

The American architect Louis Kahn (1907-1974) is often described as ‘the architect’s architect’. This was how he was introduced to an audience gathered at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) yesterday evening for a special screening of the film My Architect, a documentary made by Kahn’s son Nathaniel, first released in 2003. As the President […]

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Entrance to the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition, Barbican.

The Uncanny World of John Paul Gaultier

On a recent research trip to the Barbican I had what was both a fascinating and rather uncomfortable experience visiting the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The opening text for the exhibition does much to hint at the unique world you are about to walk into. Gaultier is […]

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Glass, the stem twisted and tooled with incorporated white and red threads, produced in the Netherlands, 17th Century, C.135-1956. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Researcher’s Struggle

Post written by Michael McShane – Work Experience Report 23rd – 27th July 2014 Spending a week of work experience in the research department of the Victoria and Albert museum has certainly been a new experience for me, and an enriching insight into what goes on behind the scenes at one of the most prestigious […]

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