Annual Report 2005-06 Learning & Interpretation Division

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Annual Report 2005–06

Learning & Interpretation Division

Morna Hinton, Head of Learning Services



2.1. Financial summary 6

2.2. Visits and Bookings 7

2.3. Visitor Comments 10


3.1. Gallery Interpretation 12

3.2. Evaluation and audience research 12

3.3. Resource Centre 12

4. Access, Social Inclusion and Community Development 14

4.1. Disability Programme and Initiatives 14

4.2. Social Inclusion Programme 15

4.3. Work Experience Programme 15

4.4. Inspired by … 15

4.5. Language and Literacy Programme 17

4.6. Community Displays 17

4.7. Community Resources and Publications 17

4.8. Cultural Diversity Programme and Initiatives 17

5. Learning Services 22

5.1. Adult Learning Team 22

5.2. Families and Young People Team 25

5.3. Formal Education Team 28

6. The Online Museum 31

6.1. Content Development 31

6.2. Web Visitors 32

6.3. Online Facilities 34

7. Special Projects 35

7.1 Image and Identity 35

7.2 Every Object Tells a Story 36

8. Staff 37

9 Appendices 43

9.1 Appendix 1: Publications 43

9.2 Appendix 2: Professional Lectures and Conference Papers 43

9.3 Appendix 3: Audience Research 47

9.4 Appendix 4: UK Working 48

9.5 Appendix 5: International Working 53


During 2005/6 the Learning and Interpretation Division continued to provide a full range of services for all audience groups, including families, schools, young people, students, adults, community groups, culturally diverse audiences, people with disabilities and those at risk of social exclusion.

In terms of numbers our biggest success story this year has been the website, with visits up to 11.5 million, which was more than double the target. An impressive amount of new content has been made available to visitors – a 90% increase in pages on the main V&A site since last year. is now the UK’s premier cultural website and a leader in art and design on the web.
On-site visitor figures, however, were badly affected by the London bombings of 7 July, in common with most museums and galleries in central London. There were particularly significant drops in children visiting, which affected our family and schools figures. The overall popularity of the V&A’s exhibitions also has a significant effect on the number of people engaging in our programmes e.g. the Art Deco exhibition alone accounted for around 200,000 people in 2003/4, and Vivienne Westwood and Black British Style were very popular in 2004/5. Our exhibitions in 2005/6 were disappointing in terms of visitor numbers, especially International Arts and Crafts, which was expected to do much better than it did.




Total number of learners handled by L&I including learning and access programmes, exhibition bookings, collections visits and private events




Total learners excluding exhibition bookings, collections visits and externally organised events




We have also had to make staff and revenue savings during the course of this year, which have affected most sections of L&I except the Online Museum, and this has affected our capacity to run programmes. Despite this there were increases in some areas, for example the numbers attending disability programmes doubled and there was increased participation in the regional Inspired By… competition and the intercultural and interfaith programmes. Our programmes and facilities for people with disabilities won two awards for the V&A and we scored very well in the Disability Standard benchmarking exercise, being cited as an example of good practice in a number of areas. The academic programme of conferences and other events also did very well this year, with almost three times as many people attending this year as last year. Redeveloped galleries continue to open as part of Futureplan, including this year Sacred Silver and Stained Glass, which included videos and other interpretation developed by the gallery educator.

External funding for our programmes has increased this year, largely due to the grant from the HLF for capacity building with diverse communities. This is a total grant of £1m over three years. The first tranche of money came in for the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning through Design, a partnership project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and involving RIBA, the RCA and the University of Brighton. Project activity will start in earnest in the next financial year. We also won Treasury funding for a web project in partnership with other national museums, which will mean significant external funding in this area in the next few years.
Over the course of the year the Learning and Interpretation Division engaged in a wide range of national and international working as well as regular publications and conference papers by members of staff. Work on the new Education Centre due to open in autumn 2007 continued to detailed design stage, and our contribution to the Exhibition Road Cultural Group was considerable with a number of staff involved in both strategy and events.
Many colleagues from around the V&A contribute to the Learning and Interpretation Division’s work, from the curatorial departments to Marketing and the cleaner-porters. We also have a dedicated and well-trained pool of casual staff who do much of the on-the-ground delivery of family programmes and who assist with the running of courses, conferences and other events. Without all of these people we could not have achieved what we have this year.
Morna Hinton

Head of Learning Services

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