At the 2018 Goldsmiths’ Lecture on 2 May, Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, brilliantly explained the social power of the V&A’s role. Hunt set the context of the institution’s founding principle to instruct and inspire generations of Victorian designers and engineers against today’s 28% decline in arts student numbers at UK secondary schools.
The V&A is engaged in a plethora of initiatives to build design, craft and decorative art into the hearts and minds of our digital generation, including a surprising collaboration of the Ceramics Department with Imperial College’s student medical surgeons to develop fine motor skills and 3-D observation in an age group more used to tapping and swiping touch screens.
Hunt advocates the implementation of a London tourist hotel tax to boost the private and public funds received by the capital’s cultural institutions. As the V&A was originally financed by the phenomenal revenue generated by the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851, such visitor funding would be apposite to ensuring the V&A’s world class collections and activities, both digital and analogue, are accessible, pioneering, relevant and delightful.