Creative industries at the V&A
The Victoria & Albert Museum is a key resource for anyone connected with the creative industries. Its vast collections represent an extraordinarily rich storehouse of ideas for artists and designers of all kinds. Art and design of the past can play a vital role in fostering innovation and creativity in the future, and many of Britain’s most acclaimed designers like Paul Smith, Peter Blake, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen have frequently acknowledged their debt to the V&A’s collections and displays.
Over 35% of the V&A’s visitors are made up of people working in the creative industries. This audience encompasses not only architects, designers, artists, performers and other practitioners who are actively involved in the creation and manufacture of art and design, but also all those people who work in associated areas and professions, such as publishing and the media, production and marketing, galleries and events, and training and teaching.
Most of our existing visitors come to explore the incredible variety of objects in the galleries and to view temporary exhibitions and displays. Their visits tend to be informal and are generally not perceived as part of their ongoing career development.
The V&A’s Creative Industries programme aims to redress this imbalance and to promote a closer and more professional engagement with the museum. It highlights the different ways in which the museum can support the creative sector – individuals as well as groups – and respond to topical and current interests and concerns. The programme does this in three main ways. It includes a regular series of specialist events that provide a platform for sharing new ideas, networks and skills. It provides access to other more wide-ranging resources and events that are relevant to the creative sector. And it reveals the ways in which artists and designers can learn from and find inspiration in the collection.
The headline strand within the Creative Industries programme is V&A Connects, a series of inter-active, evening events organised by, and for professionals working in the creative industries. With a strong emphasis on industry-led content and audience participation, this series represents an innovative way of re-charging creative batteries, sharing new ideas, and making contact with new people.
Held on selected Fridays, V&A Connects features workshops, debates, discussions and demonstrations that cover every area of design, architecture and fashion. Each event is devised in collaboration with an industry partner – RIBA, onedotzero, D&AD, the Design Council and others – and brings together a range of innovative practitioners, writers, business people, and thinkers. The partners devise the theme and the content for the evening, based on their knowledge of the interests and needs of others working in their sector. The primary aim is to stimulate creativity, entrepreneurship, and the exchange of skills and ideas. But, the events also provide a great opportunity for networking, socialising, and meeting other industry professionals.