The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world's leading museum of art and design, and was established following the 1851 Great Exhibition. Our mission is to enrich people's lives and inspire individuals and everyone in the creative industries, through the promotion of knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world.

The V&A holds many of the UK's national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, the book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance and the cultures of childhood. Many national design museums in Europe have concentrated on collecting the art and design of their own country. In contrast, the V&A has always collected objects made and consumed throughout Europe and beyond. With a vast and encyclopaedic collection, significant for its historical importance as well as its contemporary excellence and relevance, the V&A remains a source of inspiration for all who share a passion, interest and enthusiasm for art and design.

Research is a core activity of the V&A, which was the first museum in the world to establish a dedicated Research Department. The V&A plays a leading role in binding together the fields of art, design and performance; conservation and collections management; and object-led, museum-based learning. Across all channels, whether online, in print or through other activities and events, we are developing our ability to share expertise and support research, learning and training programmes within and outside of the UK.

Research partnerships

As the UK's national museum for art, design and performance, the V&A has always been dedicated to using material culture as a means to engage, educate and inspire specialists and non-specialists alike. Research partnerships help to make this possible, and the Museum works with a wide range of external partners on research projects and publications (including the V&A Online Journal) as well as exhibitions and events. 

We work closely with a range of universities and other educational institutions, and are also home to the world's oldest postgraduate programme in the History of Design, part of a longstanding collaboration with the Royal College of Art.   We also support a number of non-stipendiary visiting fellowships to allow scholars from outside the Museum to carry out a specific programme of research related to the V&A and its collections--in some cases as part of an exhibition or publication project and in some cases an independent project that has a bearing on the Museum and its work.

More information can be found in the V&A Research Handbook.

cover image : ‘Research in action at the V&A Research Institute (VARI) photograph by Eileen Budd’