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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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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What buckle?

Today I went to the Clothworker Centre in Blythe house to look for buckles!   A number of shoes included in the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain date from the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period buckles progressively substituted laces. Shoe buckles were worn by both men and women, and remained in fashion for […]

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Crookes Radiometer, Image by Lina Hakim

All work and no play makes the museum a dull place?

by Grace Bremner   “[W]e learn by interacting with bits of the world even when our words for how these bits work are inadequate.” -Davis Baird   All work and no play makes the museum a dull place. Or so Lina Hakim would have us believe through her latest seminar in the History of Design […]

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'Calyx', printed linen furnishing fabric by Lucienne Day for Heals & Son Ltd., British, 1951, T.329:3-1000. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

A Point of Departure

This post was written by Joanna Weddell, AHRC CDA Disseminating Design, Centre for Research and Development, University of Brighton and Research Department, the Victoria & Albert Museum. This post is prompted by a curious caption and photograph in a press cuttings file on one of the major exhibitions of the V&A Circulation Department, English Chintz: English […]

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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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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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