Set up in 2008, the V&A Residency programme has hosted a huge range of artists and designers - photographers, architects, jewellery designers, ceramicists, poets, illustrators, costume designers, theatre groups, digital games designers, basket makers and many more. We have three studios in the Museum: two multidisciplinary studios in the Sackler Centre for Arts Education* and one studio in our Ceramics Gallery on level 6, reserved especially for ceramicists in residence. We try to ensure that there is always an artist in residence in each of our studios, usually for a six month period but this can vary.
*N.B. The Sackler Centre has now closed to the public and will re-open in 2017. During this period Residents will have access to the Residency Studios but all public engagement will happen elsewhere in the Museum.
Benefits for the resident
Using these studios as a base, our residents have access to the V&A’s extensive collections (objects in the galleries and in storage), the expertise of our staff and access to spaces within the Museum. The aim is that residents use these resources to develop their practice, carry out important research, experiment with new ideas and learn new skills.
Alongside researching and expanding their practice, many residents create interventions, small displays or installations in response to the V&A’s collection during their time here. These are often shown the Museum, sometimes as part of the London Design Festival, and some residents have work acquired by the Museum that join our permanent collection.
Engaging with visitors
Public engagement is a large part of the programme, especially as it sits within the Learning Department of the Museum. Our ceramics residents hold regular open studios where visitors can come into the studio, see the resident at work and ask questions about their practice. During the period in which the Sackler centre is closed, Sackler-based residents regularly take their work in progress into the galleries so visitors can interact with them there. In addition to this, all residents work with staff from the Learning Department to develop workshops, talks, lectures and activities for a range of visitor groups such as schools, families, students, adults and community groups. The residents’ input can be inspirational for the public and our staff; working with a contemporary artist or designer who brings life to our collections is really special.
How we appoint artists and designers in residence
For each residency opportunity, the V&A specifies a particular area of the collections, or a particular medium that we want the Resident to work in e.g. jewellery, new media, print, textiles, photography etc. Invitations to apply are put on the V&A website and through selected publications and advertising networks inviting practitioners to apply, much like a job advert. Applicants will fill in an online application form where they will be asked about their previous experience, and to propose ideas for how they might work with the collections and with the Museum's diverse audiences. A panel of Museum staff and external experts, where appropriate, are brought together to select candidates for interview.
If you are interested in applying, please go to our job vacancies page and download our Guidance notes for V&A Residency Programme applicants