Through DesignLab Nation V&A collaborates with partner organisations to select objects that showcase a given area’s industrial and design heritage. Established to complement the existing school Art, Design and Technology curriculum, the programme is delivered by affiliated professionals from local design practices, with partner museums serving as local hubs for the secondary school projects.

Fruit wallpaper pattern, on paper, Designed by William Morris, Published by Morris & Co, England, First issue © Victoria and Albert Museum

The scheme encourages students to engage with an item relevant to their location, before creating responses to design briefs and exploring the relationships between historic and contemporary design.

The latest DesignLab Nation objects

The 40 objects most recently loaned out as part of the programme include:

Six William Morris prints – Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

3D-printed black titanium Pinarello bicycle handlebars, used by Bradley Wiggins – Coventry Transport Museum

A range of silver objects by female designers including Yukie Osumi, Kyosun Jung, Elizabeth Clay, Carla Nuis, Miriam Hanid, Nan Nan Liu and Ndidi Edubia – Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Ceramics by Barnaby Bartford and Stephen Dixon – The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

Doncaster, Ipswich and Blackpool are among the new towns to have received support from the programme for 2020.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Pinarello Bolide HR Handlebar, manufactured by Pinarello, 2015 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Victoria and Albert Museum
Vase, silver, 2012, designed and made by Ndidi Ekubia © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

V&A director, Tristram Hunt, said improving access to arts resources is schools is “good for attainment, good for job prospects, and good for the creative talent pipeline,” despite creative subjects “being squeezed” and take-up having “dramatically declined over the last decade”.

The latest phase of DesignLab Nation, he claims, “reiterates our reinvigorated mission to support teachers, champion creative subjects in school and inspire the next generation”.

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