V&A Museum uses £100,000 prize fund to launch nationwide art initiative for schools

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is launching a national programme to support design education in state-funded secondary schools.

DesignLab Nation, which launches in September to support the new design and technology GCSE, aims to get regional museums working in partnership with their surrounding schools to deliver art projects that explore local history and heritage.

Cara Williams, schools programme manager at the V&A, said: “We’ll be selecting objects from V&A collections that really complement and enhance local stories and use them to help students learn about the heritage of their area.

“The idea is to join up education, cultural learning and industry.”

Each regional programme will be delivered by local artists, with plans to run three school art projects a year.

The idea is to join up education, cultural learning and industry

The V&A will use £100,000 it won in the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 award to fund the new scheme, which is estimated to cost £50,000 in its first year.

Emmajane Avery, the V&A’s director of learning and visitor experience, said: “We were shortlisted for the award after our Alexander McQueen exhibition. We were really lucky to win, and what we wanted to do with the money was to have regional relevance, and make sure that the V&A’s collections are able to benefit young people as widely as possible.”

The scheme will also provide the chance for art and design training for teachers, as well as ongoing professional development at networking and skills-sharing events.

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said: “The V&A has a responsibility to protect and promote design education for the future. By bringing together local industry, museums and schools, DesignLab Nation will ensure that the V&A delivers on our founding purpose, to educate and inspire the artists, innovators, designers and creatives of tomorrow.”

The scheme will begin in Coventry and Blackburn this September, and expand to Sheffield and two extra locations in the next academic year.

To find out more, contact schools@vam.ac.uk

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