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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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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Issue 6 V&A Online Journal

Issue 6 of the V&A Online Journal Just Released

Issue 6 of the V&A Online Journal is now available to read here.   In this issue, each article uncovers the hidden histories embedded in objects: from computer-generated art and design, through a rare manuscript written by an 18th-century artisan, to the Museum’s collection of theatrical prompt books. Each author, in taking seriously the seemingly […]

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Dr Kate Aspinall delivering a paper entitled 'the Pasmore Report? Reflections on the Coldstream Report and its Legacy' at Art School Educated conference in Tate Britain, 11-12 September.

Art School Educated: Reflections on a Conference

On 11-12 September I attended the Art School Educated conference at Tate Britain which represented the culmination of a five year AHRC funded research project investigating the impact of the art education on artistic production from the 1960s to the present day and its relationship to the wider themes of education, culture and society. The […]

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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 5 Jochen Volz

Part 5 – Introduction of the Principles behind the Imhotim Contemporary Art Museum Jochen Volz, Serpentine Gallery, Head of Programmes; Instituto Inhotim, Curator     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 […]

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Adapted from the cover design of the book accompanying the British Museum / BBC Radio 4 Series (Publ. Allen Lane, Penguin Group, 2010).

Object stories

The idea behind ‘A history of an OBJECT in 100 worlds’ was to turn Neil MacGregor’s landmark project ‘A history of the WORLD in 100 objects’  on its head so that, rather than “telling history through things” – which is what McGregor states museums are for – we would tell the history of things – […]

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Bike

Gearing up for the next cycle: Design Culture Salon Series Three

Programming the Design Culture Salons, now entering their third series, is undoubtedly my favourite job here at the V&A Museum. It allows me to reflect upon some of the hot topics that are emerging in contemporary design and I spend a lot of time tracing these through conversations inside and outside the museum, with fellow researchers […]

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Teapot, 19th century, made in Ladakh, N W India.
Silver gilt, silver and brass gilt, with inset turquoise. 
Silver gilt, silver and brass gilt, with inset turquoise IM.112-1927

‘Magical’ Research trip to N W India

Oral histories have the capacity to transport us not just across time but across space.  Stories are in a sense a kind of ‘object’ encompassing trajectories of affect and sensation which is why I found this account by Dr John Clarke, curator of the Himalayan and southeast Asian collections, so compelling.  He describes a research trip he made in 1986 to the Zanskar Valley, […]

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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 4 Kiki Mazzucchelli

Part 4 – The Notion of ‘the vernacular’ in Contemporary Brazilian art Kiki Mazzucchelli, Independent curator and writer     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 art, design […]

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