Project Lead: Elizabeth Currie & Marta Ajmar

Number of participants:  15

Duration: 3 days

Project Outline: 

The workshop will be led by members of the Encounters on the Shop Floor project including Dr Marta Ajmar (V&A Research Institute), with support from Elizabeth Currie (History of Design) and curatorial staff at the V&A. It will present some of the methods and findings of Encounters, a collaborative project across numerous London institutions, which has highlighted concerns about the growing divide between ‘mind’ and ‘hand’ and between ‘intellectual’ and ‘manual’ knowledge and their disciplinary and institutional compartmentalization. In the workshop, which will take place V&A and will partly draw on objects in the collections, we will explore the ways in which museums, collections and makers can come together to develop new methods for researching through making, unmaking and remaking. How important is touch, feel, making and a physical and emotional set of experiences for learning about objects and how can we bring ways of learning through the body into dialogue with more traditional research methods? Outcomes • To engage with practitioners and with collections through research to understand the role that embodied knowledge, skill and processes of making play in the constitution and transmission of learning and knowing. • To reflect on the nature of embodied knowledge • The workshop will be filmed (with consent from participants) as part of the project documentation and students will have the opportunity to blog about it either for the V&A blog or History of Design student blog Unmaking Things.


Day 1: Tuesday 5th November (Blythe House, the V&A research and study centre)

Presentation and discussion of current thinking surrounding embodied learning followed by an analysis of V&A objects, mainly from the Theatre and Performance collections, from the dual perspectives of making and performance.

Start of making workshop led by practitioners, including textile artist Fleur Oakes

Day 2: Wednesday 6th November (V&A)

All Day: Materials and making workshop – following an initial recap students will work independently, with space provided for them at the V&A

Day 3: Thursday 7th November (Blythe House)

Completion of making workshop guided by group leaders

Student presentations and reflection on the group’s new perspectives on embodied knowledge and the processes of making