Mu­seum chief says V&A moves be­yond ‘in­ward look­ing na­tion­al­ism’

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By ALI­SON CAMP­SIE

Dundee’s mu­seum works on an in­ter­na­tional level and goes be­yond “in­ward look­ing na­tion­al­ism and parochial­ism”, the di­rec­tor of the V&A has said.

Dr Tris­tram Hunt, di­rec­tor of the Lon­don-based mu­seum and former shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary at Westminster, made the re­marks dur­ing the open­ing speeches in Dundee this week.

He said: “Here we have a to­tally in­ter­na­tional mu­seum that is rooted in local rel­e­vance.

“At a time of in­ward look­ing na­tion­al­ism and parochial­ism, the V&A is proud to tell the story of ex­change and in­ter­ac­tion.”

He later added: “Whether it is po­lit­i­cal lead­ers want­ing to build walls or whether it is a new kind of blood and soil pol­i­tics that we are see­ing in parts of the con­ti­nent, there is a fear­ful­ness of the mo­ment around the flow of cul­ture and iden­tity.

“Cul­ture moves across bound­aries, it doesn’t op­er­ate to strict na­tional bound­aries. That art is the whole point of a mu­seum, to ex­plore cos­mopoli­tanism.”

Asked whether he was re­fer­ring to Scot­tish na­tion­al­ism in his orig­i­nal com­ments, Dr Hunt said: “I was not re­fer­ring to any par­tic­u­lar na­tion or any par­tic­u­lar party. It was more a re­flec­tion of some of the el­e­ments of pub­lic dis­course, which are around at the mo­ment.”

V&A Dundee is run by its own di­rec­tor, Philip Long, and has a sep­a­rate board from its Kens­ing­ton cousin.

Around 300 ob­jects from the V&A Col­lec­tion are now on show in the Scot­tish De­sign Gal­leries, with the ob­jects to ro­tate over time.

Dr Hunt said there were some 12,000 ob­jects in the col­lec­tion with a Scot­tish con­nec­tion, with cu­ra­tors in both Dundee and Lon­don col­lab­o­rat­ing to de­cide which pieces would head north.

En­try to the mu­seum is free, but charges ap­ply to the main vis­it­ing ex­hi­bi­tions in­clud­ing Ocean Lin­ers: Speed and Style, which costs £11 for an adult, £9 for con­ces­sions and £7 for chil­dren.

Dr Hunt said an­nounce­ments on fu­ture vis­it­ing ex­hi­bi­tions would be made in due course.

There is no word on whether the hugely pop­u­lar Frida Kahlo ex­hi­bi­tion now on show in Lon­don will make it to Dundee.

Dr Hunt said: “Frida was an in­cred­i­bly com­pli­cated ex­hi­bi­tion to put to­gether but we will be mak­ing an­nounce­ments soon on fu­ture ex­hi­bi­tions.”

Dr Tris­tram Hunt says the V&A tells the story of ex­change

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