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V&A Blog - April 2014

Pippa Joiner is the Project Coordinator for the DesignLab project at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

My name is Holly Burton and I have recently taken over from Pippa Joiner as Project Coordinator for the John Lyon's Charity Initiative at the V&A. Since the beginning of March I have been familiarising myself with the fantastic work that Pippa has done over the past couple of years and, thanks in part to a very comprehensive set of handover notes, I have been able to hit the ground running to work on the final stages of the project. As Pippa has been doing for the past two years, I will be using this blog to share my experience of working on the project. Before I share with you the plans for the next few months here is a final message from Pippa:

'It has been very rewarding to oversee the evolution of the project and I am sad to leave the project before its completion. Thank you to everyone who has commented on this blog post–it has provided a valuable opportunity to discuss and reflect on the project and has greatly helped the learning process over my time in the role.

I have been particularly proud of project's main achievements. This has included a dramatic increase in the number of schools from beneficiary boroughs that engage with the V&A – with 60 out of a targeted 85 schools taking part in the programme to date.

One of the things the teachers say they have benefited hugely from is having a personalised point of contact within the larger institution of the V&A who could act as a conduit to explain the range of learning programmes on offer. Teachers have stated that receiving information in such an accessible way made a huge difference to their capacity to respond and engage. I have confidence that there will be much continued enthusiasm for the project and that schools will continue to engage with the V&A because of the good relationships that have been established. There are more exciting events coming in 2014 including collaborations with designers and a celebration event at the end of the project. I very much hope you will continue to keep up to date with the project as it continues to progress.' Best wishes, Pippa

Over the coming months I will be delivering a programme of CPD events, workshops, in-depth projects and outreach sessions with schools within the beneficiary area. I will keep you up to date on how these are going.

I will also be looking back to evaluate the success of the project over the past three years and looking forward to develop/implement strategies to sustain links with schools in the beneficiary boroughs. The project has provided the opportunity to initiate, build and sustain relationships with schools and one of the key challenges will be ensuring that the strong links that Pippa has worked so hard to establish are sustained beyond the life of the project.

Having a high level of personal attention from the Project Coordinator for the duration of the project has been highly appreciated by teachers and allowed relationships with schools to flourish. So, over the coming months, we will start a 'soft handover' with our Schools Liaison Assistant who will ensure that schools in the beneficiary boroughs remain informed of the many ways in which they can engage with the V&A.

It would be great to hear of the ways in which other organisations have sustained links with their participants beyond the life of a project. If you have any suggestions of strategies or a case study of your own then I would love to hear from you.

What's coming up:

As Pippa has spoken about in her previous blog posts, a key element of the project is the programme of CPD events for teachers. We have ten events programmed between May and July and there are still spaces available for teachers to book. Here's some information on the next two coming up:

Jasleen Kaur TourThe next CPD event for teachers is a designer-led tour and workshop with Jasleen Kaur, who has worked on many aspects of the project. On Friday 2nd May (17.30 – 19.30) Jasleen will be taking teachers on a tour of the Silver, Glass and Ceramics Galleries, looking at objects that inspire her practice. Using these objects as inspiration, teachers will then have the opportunity to work with Jasleen and create their own product design solutions in the studio. I am really looking forward to my first CPD event and I hope the teachers will leave feeling inspired to take ideas back to their students.

The Glamour of Italian FashionThen on Friday 9th May (17.30 – 19.30), teachers have the opportunity to come and see the spectacular exhibition 'The Glamour of Italian Fashion' for free. V&A guest speaker Lucia Savi will be giving an introductory talk to give a special insight into this glamorous and comprehensive look at Italian Fashion from the end of the Second World War to the present day. If you know of any teachers who many be interested in attending any of our events then please do ask them to get in touch with me.
0207 942 2481

Thirteenth Blog entry – October 2013

In her recent farewell speech V&A designer in residence Julia Lohmann described her residency studio at the V&A as a rockpool; a protected and sheltered space to test ideas, yet which remains connected to the ocean (the outside world). I have found this a compelling image and would like to think that the John Lyon’s Charity project has acted as a ‘rockpool’ to teachers and students. It has guided them in finding the ‘treasures’ the V&A can offer – and enriched the ‘ocean’ of teaching and learning. 

Yet  just as rockpools must  constantly change and regenerate so it will be one of my tasks during the coming year to ensure teachers continue to ‘rejoin’ the wider environment and access  the fabulous resources of the V&A independently of the project.  I will develop stategies for this throughout the coming year which I will share with you. Meanwhile, if anybody has experience and advice for how to sustain relationships beyond the life of a project it would be great to hear from you!

CPD programme for 2013/14

The programme of free CPD is a fanstic way for teachers to discover the wonderful array of workshops on offer. It is designed for teachers that have not yet engaged with the project to ‘dip their toes in the water’ and also for teachers who have previously engaged to explore our new offerings!

The CPD events introduce teachers to innovative ways of working within art, craft and design practices. They are designer-led and take place in a relaxed atmosphere where participants can learn new skills, gain ideas and inspiration and meet other teachers. The programme last year was very successful, with 100% good and excellent feedback.

Schools have been sent information and events have been booking fast - so far this year teachers from 26 different schools have booked places for CPD sessions.  We are keen to circulate this as widely as possible, so please do share the details with any Secondary Art & Design and Design & Technology teachers within the John Lyon’s Charity boroughs.


Please find the programme listed on the V&A website at and do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more at

In the main V&A teachers’ programme we are hosting an educators’ private view to celebrate the opening of Jameel Prize 3.
16 January 2014, 18.30–20.30
Join us in the spectacular dome entrance to celebrate the opening of the Jameel Prize 3 exhibition, including works by international artists and designers directly inspired by sources rooted in the Islamic tradition. Hear from the exhibition curator, pick up free resources and enjoy a drink with colleagues.
Cost: Free, booking essential, book now on +44 (0)20 7942 2211


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