V&A museum plans to revive design skills

By Sean Coughlan
Education correspondent

  • Published
Museum lessonsImage source, V&A
Image caption,
The V&A will work with regional museums to encourage a revival in craft and design skills

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is launching a schools project to fill the gap in creating a new generation of designers.

The museum wants to revive interest in its specialist areas of art and design, in a project that will include museums in Blackburn and Coventry.

The Victoria and Albert Museum will lend them some of its artefacts.

Director Tristram Hunt says the museum has a responsibility to "promote design education for the future".

The secondary schools project, called DesignLab Nation, is being funded by prize money won by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) for being the Art Fund Museum of the Year.

The museum, which bills itself as "From Bauhaus to Bowie", wants to encourage interest in craft skills, particularly in industrial cities with a long heritage of design and manufacturing.

It is responding to worries about a lack of vocational skills and training for industry.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Tristram Hunt, now running the V&A, wants to promote design education

The project will begin in the autumn at the V&A in London and in Blackburn and Coventry, with plans to add other cities later, including Sheffield.

The intention is to cultivate the skills for local creative industries, in partnerships between museums and schools.

Blackburn has a long tradition in textiles and Coventry has design associated with its car industries.

The project will coincide with the start of a new design and technology GCSE and will support the revised qualification.

Mr Hunt, the former Labour politician who now heads the V&A, said creative industries were among "the UK's greatest national and economic assets".

"By bringing together local industry, museums and schools, DesignLab Nation will ensure that the V&A delivers on our founding purpose, to educate and inspire the artists, innovators, designers and creatives of tomorrow," he said.

Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Edge Foundation which promotes vocational learning, backed the project's support for "creative and technical innovation".

"These skills are becoming increasingly important as the creative sector of the economy grows rapidly," she said.