The V&A inspires next generation of designers

Written by: Emma Lee-Potter | Published:
Grand designs: Ceramicist James Rigler with students from Alperton Community School as part of the V&A’s DesignLab (Image: Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

From Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Alexander McQueen, the UK has long been renowned for its creativity and design prowess.

Now one of the country’s best loved museums has announced a new programme to inspire the next generation of designers.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is using its Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 prize money to fund DesignLab Nation, a national schools programme to revive art and design education in schools.
DesignLab Nation will launch in September, targeting 11 to 16-year-olds in predominantly industrial areas.

Secondary schools will be partnered with local museums and regional creative industries to inspire pupils, train teachers and highlight the essential role that art, design and technology play in young people’s education. The programme will also support the new design and technology GCSE.

The first areas to be involved in the programme are Coventry and Blackburn, with Sheffield and two additional locations following suit during the next academic year.

“At a time when the creative industries are one of the UK’s greatest national and economic assets, we want to inspire and support students and teachers as the new design and technology GCSE arrives this autumn,” said Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A.

“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 promise, to educate and inspire the artists, innovators, designers and creatives of tomorrow.”

Each DesignLab Nation partnership will be delivered by specialists from local design practices, who will work closely with a local museum. The V&A will lend its collections to museums, help to recruit schools and designers and provide training and professional development for teachers.

Schools interested in finding out more about DesignLab Nation should email


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