The V&A Research Institute (VARI)

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation the V&A Research Institute (VARI) is a five-year programme of projects and partnerships, which take the V&A’s pioneering research culture into an exciting new phase allowing the Museum to experiment with new ways of storing, displaying and studying its collections. This blog will give voice to VARI’s team of experts, academic scholars, practicing artists and volunteers.

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Pattern Book: A new performance by Neil Brownsword in collaboration with Paul Holdway

In culmination of his six-month residency at the V&A, ceramics resident Neil Brownsword will be presenting a new performative installation in the museum’s day lit galleries on Friday 20 and Saturday 21st April between 11 am and 5 pm. Chinoiserie sketch, Pattern Book, Neil Brownsword 2018 For nearly two decades Neil Brownsword has highlighted endangered forms […]

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Victoria Adukwei Bulley: Artist in Residence for VARI Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities Project

Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Artist in Residence for the VARI Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities Project

The Project The Cabinets of Curiosity project examines the History of Collecting over the centuries, from Early Modern, to 19th Century to Contemporary. Dr Hannah Young is currently undertaking research that seeks to uncover some of the unexplored histories of the V&A, which in many respects became a large-scale nineteenth-century ‘cabinet of curiosity’. In particular, she […]

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V&A Opera Residents to stage new Salome performance on Friday 19 January

  Soprano Philippa Boyle Our Opera Residents have been working with composer Oliver Brignall, soprano Philippa Boyle and costume designer Jean Chan to create a new performance inspired by the character of Salome in Richard Strauss’s Opera. Don’t miss the opportunity to see them on the opening night of the upcoming V&A Opera Weekender on Friday […]

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VARI Artist in Residence Call: Opening the Cabinet, Histories of Slavery and Slave-Ownership

We are delighted to announce our new call for artists who are keen to engage with the histories of slavery and slave-ownership that are ‘hidden in plain sight’ within in the museum, as part of the V&A Research Institute (VARI) Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities project. The selected artist will be encouraged to engage with […]

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Should a preconceived format dictate an outcome? I have always been a strong advocate of retaining albums in their original format and strongly oppose pulling them (the act of breaking down a bound format to its constituent parts of covers and sections) – after all I don’t want to put myself out of a job […]

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SOUND IN MUSEUMS (2): What About Musical Instruments?

Museum No: D.2253-1885

  Musical instruments are complex and often composite objects, both decorative and functional. They are the result of historically regimented assemblages, with conflicting properties between material and acoustic qualities. Foremost, they are relational objects, geared towards the performer and the listener. These qualities are difficult to feature in museum situations, which means that visitors are […]

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Four Corners: Open Studio Special organised by Silvia Weidenbach on Friday 10 November, 6 to 8 pm

Screenshot of scanned Gilbert boxes, 2017. Our Gilbert Collection Resident Artist Silvia Weidenbach is organising an Open Studio Special on Friday 10 November with four artists: David Clarke, Simone Ten Hompel, Max Warren and Adi Toch. Join us and take part in a creative dialogue around the beauty, use and meaning of boxes past and […]

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Doing Things Twice: Exploring a V&A Lafreri Volume

Detail of print within Lafreri volume

Report of a Discussion on the Boundary between the Cataloguing of Books and the Cataloguing of Bound Volumes of Prints by Elizabeth Miller Since the publication of Adam Bartsch’s, Le peintre gravure, in Vienna, between 1808 and 1828 made it the standard reference work for cataloguing many European  prints, the cataloguing of prints and the […]

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SOUND IN MUSEUMS by Eric de Visscher, VARI Visiting Professor

What's Your Favourite Sound?

Hearing, together with its active component, listening, is a means by which we sense the events of life, aurally visualize spatial geometry, propagate cultural symbols, stimulate emotions, communicate aural information, experience the movement of time, build social relationships, and retain the memory of experiences Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, Spaces Speak These were among the […]

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James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 3

Figure 1: Leman design E.1861:98-1991 being analysed with a multispectral imaging system. Photography by Lucia Burgio © Victoria and Albert Museum.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. As described in my previous instalment of the Leman analysis chronicle, the first MOLAB group came and went at the beginning of March 2017. Three weeks later, the second MOLAB group arrived from the National Institute of Optics […]

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