Interview with the Victoria & Albert Museum

Photo credit: Pop-up Performance© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Photo credit: Pop-up Performance© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

responsive, interactive, vibrant

Hi, Can you please tell me a bit about you and your involvement with the festival?

We are the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Through hands-on making and multi-sensory experiences we aim to open up our programme to the widest possible audience.

When did you get into the sensory stratosphere?

We first worked with the charity Sense in 2013, developing performance workshops for Sense families. Our aim is to make every element of the family programme as possible. Our back-packs contain sensory elements such as tactile touch objects, smell boxes or audio storytelling. In 2015 we developed our first Sensory Back-Pack ‘Curious Ceramics’ which was designed for children with visual impairments. Through our performance strand we use light, sound and props to engage with our audience. Through our making strand, in particular ‘Drop-in Design’ we try to appeal to the broadest range of families by exploring all of the senses.

What can people look forward to with your exhibition/activity at the festival?

We will be giving a presentation about the breadth of the V&A’s family programme. Participants will be invited to help us review our events programme, giving their own opinions and feedback about our activities, performances and resources. Over the weekend we will be running events at the museum and participants have the opportunity to come and see how we approach resources, performance and making.

How would you describe it in three words?

Responsive, Interactive, Vibrant

Why do you think the senses are important?

Our work with the charity Sense brought us to the Open Senses festival and we are keen to focus more on the senses in our offer to families to improve access in all areas of our programme to the broadest possible audience. 

Why should they come and visit your activity?

Hear about what the V&A do for families, join our discussion to help us shape the future of the museum’s family programme. Please share your expertise with us. Come and see activities first hand and take part on the weekend. 

What else are you looking forward to gaining from the festival?

Learning from others.

Where would you like to see the sensory area in the future?

More involvement in the museum sector and the effects of multisensory learning on wellbeing. We would like to be seen as a leader in sensory family programming. 

Three words to describe how you feel about the festival?

Open- minded. Sharing. Innovation.

Start your own conversation @OpenSensesUK #OpenSenses2017, this conversation initiated by Natasha Blok.