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Holly Burton is the Project Coordinator for the DesignLab project at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Here she discusses how she is recruiting schools from the Charity’s beneficial area to participate in the project and sign up to sessions - and the challenges she is facing.

Fourteenth Blog Entry - June 2014

A lot has been happening at the V&A for students and teachers over the past couple of months. Since my last blog post there have been five teachers’ CPD events. Teachers have enjoyed a designer-led tour with Jasleen Kaur, visited ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ with Assistant Curator Lucia Savi, learnt how to design digital art through coding, developed pattern cutting techniques with Juliana Sissons, and investigated experimental drawing techniques with jeweller Lina Peterson. The final CPD event of the year will be a ceramics masterclass with Phoebe Cummings.

While delivering these sessions I have seen how valuable it is for teachers to work with a professional artist/designer, particularly as a means of developing new ideas for the classroom and learning how to utilise the V&A collections and resources in creative ways. For example, in the ‘Digital Design: Code’ workshop, teachers were discussing how the ‘Sketchpatch’ ( coding programme could act as a basis for developing collaborative digital art projects between partner schools all over the world.


After a talk and tour from Assistant Curator, Lucia Savi, a number of teachers have brought their students along to the ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ exhibition on self-guided tours. One school has used a trip to the exhibition and the permanent fashion galleries as a basis for their GCSE students’ controlled assessment. It is encouraging to see that the new knowledge gained in these CPD events is being shared with students both in the classroom and here at the V&A. Although there is only one CPD event left to be delivered as part of the John Lyon’s Charity Initiative, the new schools programme for 2014/2015 has just been released and there will continue to be a fantastic range of teachers’ events. The new schools programme can now be downloaded from the V&A website:

I have also delivered the final two outreach sessions with designer/maker Jasleen Kaur. In both sessions students made jewellery to client briefs inspired by the V&A collections. The feedback from both teachers and students has been excellent:

“The students got to think about how to re-imagine ordinary objects and give them a new life. They gained a new understanding of how to work with objects and approach from a design brief.”  Teacher, Sion-Manning RC Girls’ School

“I enjoyed being creative and catering to the needs of a client.” Student, Northolt High School

The strategy for the outreach workshops is to use them as incentives to engage new schools with the John Lyon’s Charity projects. After initially attending a CPD event with Jasleen Kaur, a teacher from Sion-Manning RC Girls’ School booked one of the Jewellery outreach workshops. Following this session, the teacher booked her students on to an in-depth project with artists in residence, The TShirt Issue. Inspired by the The TShirt Issue’s professional practice and the V&A collections, the students are using digital programmes to create a collection of paper-folded jewellery and accessories. They have completed one day of the two day project so far; I will report back on their progress soon.

I am also looking forward to celebrating the culmination of the John Lyon’s Charity Initiative at our ‘Celebratory Event’ on Friday 4th July. We are welcoming teachers to the V&A for the evening to look back at the highlights of the project and to explore how schools can continue to engage in the range of workshops, teachers’ events and projects on offer. If you know of any teachers who may be interested in attending our celebratory event then please do ask them to get in touch with me.
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