Museum highlights 2018

Discover our programme of major exhibitions and exciting new developments coming to the V&A in 2018.



Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring A Classic
9 December 2017 – 8 April 2018

This exhibition will reveal the story behind the creative partnership of A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard and the factors contributing to the phenomenal success and enduring popularity of Winnie-the-Pooh. Designed for both children and adults, visitors will be led on a multi-sensory journey to rediscover these classic books such as discovering language as a child, and inspiring creativity with drawing. Highlights include the real-life personalities and relationships that created Pooh, including Christopher Robin’s make-believe with his toys and the collaboration between to the genius of Milne as author and Shepard as talented illustrator. The exhibition will look at the development of Pooh from pre-views of verses and stories in periodicals to the published books and celebrate the illustrative process and the interrelation of text and image. Drawing on the V&A’s collection of pencil sketches, proofs, letters and photographs, and many key loans, this exhibition will welcome another generation into A.A. Milne's magical, intimate, joyous world. In addition, the original manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh from the Wren Library at Trinity College will be on display for the first time at the V&A.

With support from the Unwin Charitable Trust.

Ocean Liners: Speed & Style
3 February – 17 June 2018
Sponsored by Viking Cruises

This exhibition will re-imagine the golden age of ocean travel from Brunel’s 1859 steamship, the Great Eastern, to the launch of the QE2 in 1969. The first ever exhibition to explore the international design and cultural impact of the ocean liner, it will reveal the hidden design stories behind some of the world’s most luxurious ships. The exhibition will explore all aspects of ship design from ground-breaking engineering, architecture and interiors to the fashion and lifestyle aboard. The exhibition will showcase over 250 objects, reuniting those not seen together since on-board these spectacular vessels, and display objects never-before-seen in Europe. On display will be paintings, sculpture, ship models, wall panels, furniture, fashion, textiles, photographs, posters and film. Highlights include a Cartier tiara recovered from the sinking Lusitania in 1915; a panel fragment from the Titanic’s first class lounge; and stunning Art Deco interiors from the Normandie launched in 1935. The exhibition will also feature ground-breaking works by Modernist artists, designers and architects inspired by liners, including Le Corbusier, Albert Gleizes, Charles Demuth and Eileen Gray, and explore how the liner has infiltrated pop-culture today.

Fashioned From Nature
21 April 2018 – 27 January 2019
Supported by the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp – CELC

Fashioned from Nature explores the relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day. Fashion draws inspiration from the natural world, but also depends on it for raw materials and energy. In the first UK exhibition to examine the environmental impact of fashion over more than 400 years, fashionable dress will be presented alongside natural history specimens, taxidermy and unprocessed materials to draw attention to the materiality of fashion and the sources of our clothes. The exhibition will ask how we can design a more sustainable fashion industry and what we can learn from the last 400 years. Exquisite designs inspired by nature are shown alongside objects of protest showing the harmful impact fashion’s demands and processes have on the earth. A range of contemporary solutions showing the research, creativity and innovation being developed today to improve fashion’s processes will be on display, from new fibres made from food waste, designs created from recycled and upcycled materials and intriguing examples of bio-engineered dyes. Companies and designers include Stella McCartney, Christopher Raeburn, Vivienne Westwood and many more.

The Future Starts Here
12 May – 4 November 2018
Supported by Volkswagen Group

This exhibition explores the power of design in shaping the world of tomorrow. From smart appliances to satellites, artificial intelligence to internet culture, more than 100 objects will be brought together as a landscape for the near future. These objects are the seeds of possible futures, currently in development, being worked on by scientists and designers in studios and laboratories around the world. Together they present various ways in which emerging technologies might affect our lives in the near future, and what choices we have – as citizens – to influence their development. The exhibition will take visitors from the familiarity of the home where smart devices are changing our notions of privacy, to the ways in which the global network of the internet shapes contemporary politics, the environmental effects of technology and the strange prospects of immortality promised by Silicon Valley enthusiasts. Highlights include Facebook’s unmanned aerial vehicle Aquila, the Long Now Foundation’s Library of Civilization composed of over a thousand books, as well as specially commissioned pieces by Miranda July, Stamen, Tellart, Marco Ferrari and Kei Kreutler.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up
16 June – 4 November 2018

Widely recognised as one of the most innovative and ground-breaking painters of the 20th century, Frida Kahlo is also renowned for the iconic persona that she crafted through her dress and self-fashioning. The V&A will present the first exhibition to be held outside Mexico of Kahlo’s clothing and personal possessions, including prosthetics, medicines, accessories, jewellery, photographs and letters. These were discovered in the Blue House in 2004 following the opening up of cupboards and storerooms which had remained sealed for fifty years. This ground-breaking exhibition will explore the development of Kahlo’s style as an amalgam of traditional Mexican garments, fashion from Europe and beyond, and demonstrate how her wardrobe was expressive of the complex relationship between her Mexican and Western heritage. The pairing of these garments with some of her most emblematic self-portraits will be unprecedented, and it will provide a unique conjunction of material evidence and art. Kahlo’s disabilities throughout her life are also central to understanding her sartorial choices, and the exhibition will offer fresh perspectives on Kahlo’s compelling life story through the display of such orthopaedic devices and medicines. Highlights of the exhibition will include hand-painted corsets, examples of her famous Tehuana dress, and paintings such as My Dress Hangs There (1933) and The Love Embrace (1943), all providing a dazzling journey into Frida’s personal and artistic world.

Supported by GRoW @ Annenberg.

Jameel Prize 5
30 June – 25 November 2018

The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Organised by the V&A in partnership with Art Jameel, the Prize is worth £25,000 and has been awarded once every two years since 2009. The competition is open to artists and designers from any background and from anywhere in the world. The ten finalists in this fifth edition have connections with countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Iraq and the USA. Their varied practices range from architecture and painting, to work in textiles and fashion design, to sound and installation. This variety will show the richness of Islamic tradition as a source for contemporary creativity, which in turn will show how the Islamic past can be relevant to our own times.

8 September 2018 – 24 February 2019

There is a renaissance happening in videogames. A new wave of designers, players and critics are pushing the boundaries of the medium in radical new ways. This V&A show is the first to fully consider the complexity of videogames as one of the most important design fields of our time, investigating ground-breaking contemporary design work, creative and rebellious player communities and the political conversations that define this movement.

This exhibition explores the design and culture of the medium since the mid-2000s, when major technological advancements increased access to the internet, social media and new means of making which had a profound impact on the way videogames are designed, discussed and played.

Large-scale immersive multimedia installations and hands-on interactive experiences will feature alongside object-based displays providing rare glimpses of design materials from the leading studios whose work defines this new wave.

Museum Developments

Museum Developments

V&A Photography Centre
Opening Autumn 2018

In Autumn 2018, the V&A will unveil the first phase of a new, state-of-the-art Photography Centre designed by David Kohn Architects. Part of the V&A’s ambitious FuturePlan development programme, Phase One of the Centre will more than double the display space dedicated to photography and completely revolutionise the way in which it is presented at the V&A. The design will celebrate the original features of the Museum’s nineteenth-century picture galleries, while creating innovative and imaginative spaces for visitors to encounter the medium from its origins in the 19th century to the present day. The Centre will see the V&A display a larger number and range of photographs, negatives, camera technology, books and archival materials than ever before, and will be accompanied by a Museum-wide photography festival and a new digital resource for photography enthusiasts around the world. Opening at a later date, Phase Two of the project will expand the gallery space further, adding spaces for learning, a browsing and research library, and a studio and darkroom to enable photographers’ residencies.

Gallery 100, part of the first phase of the project, will be renamed ‘The Bern and Ronny Schwartz Gallery’ in recognition of the generosity of The Bern Schwartz Family Foundation, the first major supporter of the Museum’s Photography Centre.

V&A Cast Courts - West Court and Central Gallery
Opening November 2018

In Autumn 2018 the V&A will complete the second and final phase of its FuturePlan redevelopment project returning the Museum’s Cast Courts to their original magnificence. Following extensive renovation and conservation work, the West Court and Central Gallery will reopen to the public revealing historic features, including original 19th- century floors and wall colours, alongside a new interpretation space showcasing the history, processes and significance of casts and reproduction methods used today. For the first time, the base of Trajan’s Column will be permanently opened up, enabling visitors to step inside this monumental object. Opened in 1873 as the Architecture Courts, the Cast Courts are the largest galleries in the V&A and contain casts of some of the world’s most inspiring objects from Michelangelo’s David to the 16th-century tomb by Peter Vischer from Nuremberg and the Pórtico de la Gloria. Today, the collection is an invaluable record of original objects that are either lost or have severely deteriorated over time. The transformation of the West Court and Central Gallery follows the 2014 refurbishment of the East Court, renamed The Weston Cast Court in recognition of the longstanding and generous support from the Garfield Weston Foundation.