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Telling Tales logo

Admission to Telling Tales is free

There is a varied programme of events to complement the exhibition.
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211 *

V&A Village Fete Jubilee

Friday 24 July 18.30-22.00
Saturday 25 July 13.00-17.00
John Madejski Garden

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Village Fete with the best up and coming British designers.
£3 adults, 50p children, tickets will be made available for purchase on the day from 18.00 on Friday 24 July and 12.30 on Saturday 25 July. Places are limited.


Special Event

London Design Festival

Monday 21–Friday 25 September 2009
Sackler Centre

This September the V&A will be at the centre of the seventh annual London Design Festival. As the Festival hub, the V&A will be a focal point of design-related activity and the first port of call for all visitors to the Festival. Enjoy an exciting array of displays, installations, talks and workshops throughout the Museum, and take the opportunity to rub shoulders with London's design community and Festival visitors from around the world. Throughout the week the V&A's Sackler Centre will be the place to head for information, inspiration and to take in the atmosphere of the city-wide Festival.
Free access to the Sackler Centre
Some events ticketed
For more information see


Evening Talk

Tour of the Telling Tales exhibition
with Michelle Ogundehin and Gareth Williams

Friday 24 July 2009
Exhibition Court

Michelle Ogundehin, Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decoration leads a guided tour of the exhibition with curator Gareth Williams.

Free, no booking required.



Furniture Futures: V&A Biennial Symposium

Friday 18 September 2009
Lecture Theatre

Hear some of the most influential contemporary designers, practitioners and commentators associated with furniture making today. The Symposium will examine the growing interest in furniture as an expression of contemporary culture which crosses the boundaries between art, craftsmanship and design. Debate will also explore topics including: furniture as a new art form; the role of new materials and sustainability in design; and whether individual creativity or collaboration is the key to innovative practice. The day is structured around three main themes: Creative Directions, Changing Practice, and Promotion and Communication.

Creative Directions
Chair – Glenn Adamson (V&A Research Department)
Chris Lefteri (Materials Specialist)
John Cederquist (Furniture Designer)
Sebastian Bergne (Furniture and Industrial Designer)
David Colwell (Furniture Designer and Maker)

Changing Practice
Chair – Janice Blackburn (Financial Times)
Alexander Payne (Worldwide Director of Design, Phillips de Pury & Co.)
Chris Croft (Chris Croft Training)
Bill Osgerby (Professor, Media, Culture and Communications, London Metropolitan University)
Loïc Le Gaillard (Carpenters Workshop Gallery)

Promotion and Communication
Chair – Jeremy Myerson (Royal College of Art)
Caroline Roux (Design critic and former editor of Guardian Space)
Gareth Williams (Curator, V&A and Royal College of Art)
Nigel Bates (Director, Artifex Gallery)
Ben Evans (Director, London Design Festival)
£45, £36 concessions, £5 students
Sponsored by John Makepeace Furniture and The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211



Telling Tales: Narratives, Concepts & Contemporary Furniture

Friday 16 October 2009
Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre

Symposium featuring leading contemporary designers, critics and writers including the designers Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, Dunne & Raby and Julia Lohmann, editor of ICON magazine Justin McGuirk, Professor Jack Zipes explore aspects of these and other topics raised by the exhibition.
£45, £36 concessions, £5 students
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


Short Course

Pop to Postmodernism: Contemporary Furniture and Interiors

Thursdays 24 September–12 November 2009
Seminar Room 1, Sackler Centre

Lis Darby, Senior Tutor, Sotheby's Institute
Elizabeth Bodgan, Tutor, Sotheby's Institute
Investigate the background for the emergence of high-profile contemporary designers such as Philippe Starck, Marc Newson, and Ron Arad, whose work attracts widespread media attention today. Much of their work, like other aspects of design, has its roots in the post-war period when young designers began to challenge the orthodoxy of Modernism and exploited the potential of materials, decoration, history and narrative to create an extraordinary range of diverse and exciting objects. The first of these iconoclasts were the 'pop' generation who combined psychedelic colours and motifs with new synthetic materials. They were followed by the Habitat and Laura Ashley generations, hi-tech minimalists, postmodernists and adherents of neo-organic and ethical styles in quick succession. This course examines these trends, focusing on furniture and interiors from 1960 to the present, and reviews changing fashions in retail, marketing and consumption and culminating in the innovative work displayed in Telling Tales. It involves lectures, discussion and visits.
£225, £180 concessions
More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


Study Day

Introducing Fairytales: Meaning and Making

Saturday 3 October 2009
Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre

Delve into the fascinating archetypes and narratives embodied in the compelling world of fairytales. The power and allure of these Once Upon a Time stories will be considered by Margaret Rustin, child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic in London, and Michael Rustin, Professor of Sociology at the University of East London, who are joint authors of Narratives of Love and Loss: Studies in Modern Children's Fiction. Professor Maria Nikolajeva of Cambridge University will look at the traditions and history of fairytales and Catherine Hyde artist and illustrator of the award- winning book The Princess' Blankets by Carol Ann Duffy, will talk about inspiration and creativity in relation to her work with myth and fairytales. There will also be an opportunity to discover some of the V&A's fantastic fairytale collection with Emma Laws, Frederick Warne Curator of Children's Literature.
£45, £36 concessions
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


Digital Design Courses

Digital Storytelling

Fridays 10–31 July 2009
Digital Studio, Sackler Centre

Gain the skills to produce your own two- to five-minute digital story. Digital stories are short films made using computers, still photographs, a first person narrative and music. Objects can be a useful way to connect stories together and you will learn how to combine images from the V&A's collections with your own photographs in order to tell your story. No previous knowledge of digital storytelling is required although basic computer skills are essential.
£120, no concessions (includes materials)
More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Lighten Up: Digital Lampshade Design

Wednesday 5 August 2009 (beginners)
Thursday 6 August 2009 (intermediate)
Digital Studio, Sackler Centre

After a guided tour of the exhibition you will use the collections of the V&A as inspiration to create your own bespoke lampshade based around the exhibition's three themes: 'The Forest Glade', 'The Enchanted Castle' and 'Heaven and Hell'. Using photographs you have taken around the Museum you will then be taught how to creatively manipulate them using Photoshop before transferring your finished design onto your own lampshade (suitable for a pendant or floor stand). The beginner's course is aimed at those who have no previous Photoshop experience and want to build up their confidence using the programme. The intermediate course is intended for those who already have some knowledge but wish to take their Photoshop skills further.
£60, no concessions (includes materials)
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Virtual Furniture Design

Friday 11 & Saturday 12 September 2009
Digital Studio, Sackler Centre

Design your own realistic and fantastic 3D furniture using video game technology in a virtual environment. Following a guided tour of the exhibition Telling Tales, study the V&A's collections, make sketches and take photographs to use as inspiration to create your own furniture. You can choose to create an object of virtual design, or a recreation of a piece in the collection. The creations will exist on display in a 3D virtual space where you can take pictures from different angles with lighting and backdrops, which will be printed as record of your digital creations. This course is suitable for those with Intermediate Photoshop skills.
£120, no concessions (includes materials)
More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


Lunchtime Lectures

Gareth Williams, Curator of Telling Tales

Wednesday 15 July 2009
Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre

Gareth Williams, curator of Telling Tales: Fantasy & Fear in Contemporary Design talks about the exhibition.
Free, no ticket required



Collecting Contemporary Design

Saturday 12 September 2009
Seminar Room 1, Sackler Centre

Led by Sotheby's 20th-century design expert, Geraldine Ramphal, this event explores some of the factors determining the cost and collectability of contemporary design. Combining talks, examination of objects and discussion, it reviews the careers of celebrated collectors, the changing values of different periods and designs, and the volatility of the market. It also offers advice on ways of researching and acquiring individual pieces and includes a tour of the Telling Tales exhibition and items in the V&A's collection.
£25, £20 concessions
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211



Enchantment, Fantasy and Fear: Creative Writing Workshop

Saturday 12–Sunday 13 September 2009
Seminar Room 2, Sackler Centre

Acclaimed author and poet Jo Shapcott leads a two-day workshop that explores creative writing and the telling of stories that evoke the spirit of fantasy and fairytales. Participants will consider the darker associations of 'The Forest Glade', and 'Heaven and Hell' - two sections in the exhibition - as rich starting points for invention and imaginative writing. The workshop will consist of a mixture of discussion, research and looking, and writing.
£200, no concessions
More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


Events for People with Disabilities

Telling Tales BSL Tour

Thursday 16 July 2009
Meeting Point, Grand Entrance
bsl logo

A curator-led, BSL interpreted tour of the exhibition for the hearing impaired.
Free, advanced booking essential.
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Telling Tales Descriptive Talk

Friday 24 July 2009
Meeting Point, Grand Entrance
visual description logo

A curator-led, descriptive talk in the exhibition for the visually impaired.
Free, advanced booking essential.
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211
* You can download the complete list of Events in pdf format here