Launch of the Research Centre

The Head of Birkbeck’s History of Art department, Leslie Topp, launched the research centre on Friday 19 October 2018 before a lecture by Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A.

Leslie Topp launches the research centre for museum cultures

Leslie Topp launches the Research Centre for Museum Cultures

Dr. Hunt spoke on ‘Design for a Nation: The Victoria and Albert Museum in the 21st Century’.

He discussed how the museum’s founding commitment to design, education and industry continues to define it today. Tracing the museum’s genesis, from its Victorian roots in the Design School Movement of the 1830s, through the Great Exhibition of 1851, to its establishment in 1852 as the Museum of Manufactures, he considered how the V&A’s British, Germanic, Indian and Oriental origins engendered a world-class collection. In our contemporary age of Brexit, Netflix and digital technology, Dr Hunt used this cultural lens to consider the museum’s place in the world today.

Tristram Hunt lectures at Senate House on Design for a Nation


The lecture was part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Birkbeck’s History of Art department. Read more in our blog post.