Show+Tell+Share

Show+Tell+Share – rethinking audience engagement and access to V&A collections

About the Project

Show+Tell+Share prototypes ways to increase the significance of V&A objects to audiences. We explore ways to enhance the social relevance of our collections and empower visitors to contribute their knowledge, experiences and perspectives through curation, research and object interaction.

Context

Audiences today want more compelling ways to encounter objects and discuss their complex histories, and to attract more diverse audiences, we need to better understand the barriers people face accessing museums, their collections and expertise. In 2024 and 2025 the V&A opens two new sites in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford and presents a unique backdrop for this research. The V&A East Storehouse is a new collection and research centre at Here East; the V&A East Museum at Stratford Waterfront will explore global and contemporary agendas across art, design and performance.

Aim

Our research questions are: how can we increase direct engagement and interaction with the V&A’s objects and knowledge? How can we make the V&A’s collections more relevant to future generations? And to a local and global audience? Three research strands focus on the museum object; on big data and the role of creative technologies; and on public engagement. Together they explore barriers to access, responses to the changing expectations around collections access, and new approaches to overcome these barriers. The V&A East Storehouse is our key site of enquiry.

Outcomes

We will develop models that interrogate and aim to improve encounters between audiences and collections. The object strand explores direct interactions with objects. The data strand explores how data and creative technologies might reduce barriers to access and forecast themes relevant to audiences. The public engagement strand explores ways to empower people to participate in the curation of objects, and to increase the relevance of our collections to society. These models will be tested with collaborators and audiences and documented through writing, interactive events and prototypes.

Project updates
21 March 2022
Thoughts from the 20th Floor
Lund Point is part of a collection of three high rise buildings that belong to the Carpenter’s Estate in the borough of Newham. For four intense days I worked with a group of young cultural...
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14 March 2022
Search by object, artist, maker…
Please do not use smartphones while walking poster illustrated by Takahiro Kadowaki, 2017. Museum no. FE.272-2018 © Image Victoria and Albert Museum, London There is an equal measure of excitement and trepidation when a magnifying...
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14 February 2022
Designing for serendipity in the museum – surprise encounters with objects and stories 
Is it possible to engineer serendipity in the museum? This is a question that we have been trying to answer as part of Show+Tell+Share – a V&A Research Institute (VARI) project funded by the Andrew...
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The Team
Catherine Ince
Project Lead

Catherine Ince replaced Sandra Smith as Project Lead responsible for the object and public engagement strands of the project in 2019. Catherine is Chief Curator, V&A East. One of the world's most significant new museum projects, V&A East will comprise ... see more

Kati Price
Co-lead

As project co-lead, Kati is responsible for the data strand of the project. As Head of Experience and Digital at the V&A, Kati leads content development across digital and print, and explores ways that technology can help improve the visitor experienc ... see more

Dr Cara Gray
Object Research Fellow

Appointed as early career research fellow in 2018, Cara began her fellowship reviewing existing and exploring potential object access opportunities in the museum - with a specific focus on museum stores and object delivery mechanisms. Inspired by stor ... see more

Matilda Pye
Public Engagement Fellow 

Matilda is exploring ways to increase the social relevance and reach of the V&A's collections working closely with members of the V & A East team, artists, designers, and makers. Matilda has worked in public programmes in museums and galleries for mor ... see more

Thomas Harding
Creative Technology Fellow

Appointed as research fellow in 2020, Thomas is investigating how technology can be used to explore and express the aims of the programme. He has ten years of experience creating interactive exhibitions and installations for museums, artists and corpo ... see more

Sandra Smith
Former Project Lead

The Show+Tell+Share research project began in 2018. Sandra Smith, former V&A Head of Conservation, initiated the project with Kati Price and was co-lead until she moved to a new role at the British Museum in 2019. Dr Julian Hartley was the first Data ... see more

Dr Julian Hartley
Former Data Research Fellow

The Show+Tell+Share research project began in 2018. Sandra Smith, former V&A Head of Conservation, initiated the project with Kati Price and was co-lead until she moved to a new role at the British Museum in 2019. Dr Julian Hartley was the first Data ... see more

Background image: Elytra Filament Pavilion cells, 2016. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London