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