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Experiments with Azurite on the History of Design MA Course

Grinding with a muller

As part of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course, during the spring term students have the chance to explore early modern making techniques as a form of historical research through practice.  With the support of V&A curators, conservators and tutors, students recreate early modern recipes to reflect on practices of making and the nature […]

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People, Places and Things: New Models for Collections-Based Research

A ‘parliament of things’ holds court in an anatomical theatre, precious paintings are suspended for all to see in a giant mirrored bowl, migration histories and scientific mysteries are painstakingly teased out of 300 year-old woven silk and metal – museum research is more adventurous than ever and the inaugural symposium of the V&A Research […]

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The Cabinet of Curiosities: Reflections on modern art historical thinking

Portrait of Elias Ashmole

If you, like me, are curious about cabinets of curiosity, the inaugural Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Lecture on the history of collecting was a key date. Given by esteemed art historian and authority on the history of collecting, Professor Paula Findlen, it was South Kensington’s hottest ticket. If you were disappointed not to get one, […]

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Filming the History of Design experimental lab class

techne video

Two second-year students who took part in the techne seminar/lab, Vivien Chan and Charlotte Slark, created a series of videos to document the lab sessions in the module. Making the films posed various challenges and they offer a record of the changing thought processes, decisions, reflections and surprises that characterised this experimental class. Vivien and […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: the Finished Varnishes

Different varnishes

This post was written by second-year student, Rebecca Goozee, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. The final lab session of the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course’s ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ class took place in the relative comfort of the Blythe House […]

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‘Sooner, or later’: Reflections on Design History studies

The cover of 'Sooner, or Later' (2016)

This post is written by Sophie Châtellier, Andrea Foffa and Vivien Chan, second-year students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA course: Sooner, or later is the name of a student-led publication produced in the final term of our first year on the course, in summer 2016. The publication was conceived as a collaboration between […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Experiments with Amber

Pulverising the amber

This post was written by History of Design MA students taking part in the course’s ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab class. Katie Vann, Melissa Tyler and Rebecca Goozee reflect on their experience of interpreting a varnish recipe from a sixteenth-century French manuscript, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris: The recipe presented us with various […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Re-creating a Sixteenth-Century Copal Varnish

Stirring the viscous copal mixture

This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, one of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students participating in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab. On a cold, blustery February morning we arrived at Blythe House, home to one of the largest storage facilities of the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were […]

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Reimagining Objects: A History of Design Exhibition

Riding Jacket

  This post was written by second-year student, Melissa Tyler, on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA. Tucked away from most of the museum is a small, light-filled library used by the V&A/RCA History of Design Masters Degree.  The course is internationally recognized as the leading postgraduate programme for the study of the History of […]

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Thinking and Experiencing ‘Techne’: Cooking From a Sixteenth-Century Lavender Spike Oil Recipe

Heating lavender spike oil

This post was written by second-year students, Sophie Châtellier and Matilde Audisio, members of a group of V&A/RCA History of Design MA students taking part in the ‘Thinking and Experiencing Techne’ seminar/lab in the spring term. One of its aims was to recreate a series of recipes from a sixteenth-century French technical manuscript.   On […]

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