“Rapid Response Collecting and Curating: Learning from the Victoria and Albert Museum” presented by Shannon


Session Title:

  • Archiving Media Art: Rapid Response Art History - Tools and Techniques for a Fast-Changing Art World

Presentation Title:

  • Rapid Response Collecting and Curating: Learning from the Victoria and Albert Museum




  • In 2013, the Victoria and Albert Museum launched a new collecting strategy, one that challenged the established notions of collecting in a Museum context. Rapid Response Collecting is a new strand to the V&A’s collecting activity, curated by the Architecture, Design and Digital department. Objects are collected in response to major moments in history that touch the world of design and manufacturing. These objects are as diverse as the situations in which they are produced, unified by their ability as to change and shape the way we look at contemporary society. The display which changes regularly shows how design reflects and defines how we live together today. Ranging from Christian Louboutin shoes in five shades of “nude”; a cuddly toy wolf used as an object of political dissent; to the world”s first 3Dprinted gun, each new acquisition raises a different question about globalisation, popular culture, political and social change, demographics, technology, regulation or the law. How does this work in practice? How does a collecting strategy such as this challenge the notions of connoisseurship within the Museum context? How does the Museum represent the mass-produced, ephemeral or highly politicised object?

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