V&A unveils vision for east London venues - Museums Association

V&A unveils vision for east London venues

Storage facility and museum are part of an Olympic legacy project
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Simon Stephens
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External render view of V&A East Museum
External render view of V&A East Museum © O’Donnell + Tuomey, 2018

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has outlined its vision for a new museum and storage facility at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The V&A East Storehouse and the V&A East Museum are both part of the Mayor of London’s £1.1bn Olympic legacy project, which involves the creation of a range of arts, innovation and education facilities in the park.

The V&A is keen to emphasise how important the local community, particularly young people and creative businesses, are to the project. It has consulted 20,000 people so far and created a wide-ranging outreach programme.

V&A East director Gus Casely-Hayford said the development of the project is based on the principles of the museum’s founder, Henry Cole.

“Cole wanted his museum to be radical and wanted it to be a force for transformation," Casely-Hayford said. “He wanted the V&A to offer the kind of tools that would meaningfully change ordinary lives.

“This was the first museum to offer late opening hours, it created cafes to provide space for rest and social interaction, and creative studios and a library to increase opportunities and access for making and practical study. This investment in creativity, this celebration of makers and making, the foregrounding of people, staff, visitors and collaborators and local and creative communities, the respect for creative discipline and endeavour, and the the embracing of great practice wherever it comes from – these are the qualities that are woven through the V&A.

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“And these are the founding principles on which we will build V&A East. However, we want to recast that vision for the 21st century. We want to put young people, opportunity and creativity in all its forms at the very heart of what we do.

“We want to build two open and inclusive spaces engineered to attract young diverse audiences.”

A workshop led by the Resolve collective workshop with the V&A East Youth Collective – (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As part of its planning, the museum has created the V&A East Youth Collective Programme, a rolling six-month paid opportunity for locals aged between 16 and 25 to play a role in developing the project.

The organisation has appointed interdisciplinary design collective Resolve as V&A East’s first Youth Workers in Residence to help shape the youth programming.

And creative agency A Vibe Called Tech, whose work explores the intersection of Black creativity, culture and innovation, has joined the project as part of a creative residency supported by Google Arts and Culture.

The Storehouse is due to open in 2024 with the museum being completed the following year.

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