Heads of Programme Welcome

Dr Sarah Teasley & Dr James Ryan

The V&A/RCA History of Design Programme is recognised internationally as a leading centre for postgraduate study in the history of design and material culture. Offered jointly by the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), we teach and research cultural, social, economic, political and technological history through artefacts and our interactions with them. Projects and expertise range across global geographies, from the fifteenth century to the contemporary, and draw on cognate areas such as geography, performance studies and design research. 

The MA offers three Pathways for 2019: Design & Material Culture, Performance and Photography

V&A/RCA History of Design embraces history that is public-facing, experimental and committed to scholarly excellence, as befits our location in the public museum and the art school. We see history as practice-based and bring a distinctly global outlook to historical questions, placing local histories in comparative context and tracing global networks through material culture. 

The Programme offers: 

  • methodological and theoretical training in history through material culture, alongside specialist expertise in the history of design, performance and photography 
  • a unique learning environment within RCA and V&A communities of expertise 
  • collections-based teaching and research 
  • an emphasis on engaging, effective communication to diverse audiences
  • opportunities for collaboration within the V&A, the RCA and externally 
  • academic assignments alongside live public projects 
  • exchanges in New York and Paris 

"V&A/RCA History of Design is based on the principle that researching, analysing and communicating history through artefacts is a practice-based discipline and can play an important public role."