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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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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James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 2

Figure 1: V&A Science Section population count – updated in March 2017.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. In March 2017 the population of the V&A Science Section, normally amounting to a meagre 5 bodies, ballooned to a whopping 11 (Figure 1). This was due to a very welcome invasion of MOLAB foreign scientists […]

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James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 1

Figure 1: The Leman Album (E.1861-1991) © Victoria and Albert Museum.

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs. The Leman Album is a collection of stunningly colourful early 18th century designs for woven silk textiles created by James Leman (Figure 1). It was chosen in 2016 to be the focus of a multidisciplinary research […]

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Illustrating the Process is a Process

Museum Outside the Box illustration by Eileen Budd

One of my responsibilities as Project Manager for VARI, is tracking and documenting the progress of our projects.  I’m a big fan of the classics for this; spreadsheets and report writing, but its always struck me there are some things these methods miss out on. We often talk about projects as if they are clockwork objects, you simply look […]

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