What are museums for in the 21st century? (Discourse)

7.20pm to 8.45pm, Friday 28 September

The Theatre

This event has already taken place

  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, Exhibition Road entrance. 

    Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Price

Free for Ri Members and Ri Patrons

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Ri Young Members £7

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Standard £20

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Concession £15

Event description

The V&A is a museum with a rich history. From its Victorian roots in the Design School Movement of the 1830s to its collections from the 1851 Great Exhibition, its establishment as the Museum of Manufactures in 1852 to the foundation stone laid by Queen Victoria in 1899. But the past doesn’t insure us against the future. Tristram Hunt will explore how museums can retain their relevance and purpose in our contemporary age. For an institution enmeshed in collections going back 5,000 years, the V&A is as focused on curating the future as preserving the past.

About the speaker

Dr Tristram Hunt is the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London – the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Since taking up the post in 2017, Dr Hunt has prioritised support for design education in UK schools, expansion of the photography department, and encouraging debate around the history of the museum’s global collections. He has overseen the opening of the new Exhibition Road Quarter and record visitor numbers to its South Kensington site. In the near future, Dr Hunt’s priorities are focused on the opening of V&A Dundee, the redesign of the V&A Museum of Childhood, and the development of a new museum partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and open access collections centre in Stratford, East London. 

Prior to joining the V&A, Dr Hunt was Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Education.  He has a doctorate in Victorian history from Cambridge University and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  In addition to numerous radio and TV programmes for the BBC, he is the author of Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City (2005); Friedrich Engels: The Frock-Coated Communist (2009); and Ten Cities That Made an Empire (2014).

 

More about Discourses

Discourses are one of the Ri’s oldest and most prestigious series of talks. Since 1825, audiences in the theatre have witnessed countless mind-expanding moments, including the first public liquefaction of air by James Dewar, the announcement of the electron by J.J. Thomson and over 100 lectures by Michael Faraday. In more recent times, we have had Nobel laureates, Fields medal winners, scientists, authors and artists – all from the cutting-edge of their field. Discourses are an opportunity for the best and brightest to share their work with the world.

Steeped in nearly two centuries of tradition, a Discourse is more than just a lecture. To keep the focus on the topic, presenters begin sharply at 7:30pm without introduction and we lock the speaker into a room ten minutes ahead of the start (legend has it that a speaker once tried to escape!) We also ask guests to dress smartly to add to the sense of occasion.

Find out more about the history of the Friday Evening Discourses on our blog.

Membership

Discourses are free for Ri Members and Ri Patrons. Join us today and support us on our mission.

Food and Drink

The Atrium cafe will be open before and after the talk. Check out the delicious menu and call 020 7670 2973 or email ri@ri.ac.uk to reserve your table.

There will also be a cash bar on the Mezzanine before the Discourse, where you can relax, meet likeminded people with an interest in science, and have a drink.

Dress code

The dress code for this event is smart (ties optional, no jeans or trainers). Please note, if you are not dressed smartly you may be asked to sit in the gallery.

Timing note

Please be aware that this Discourse starts at 7.30pm, but all attendees must be seated in the theatre by 7.20pm. This is half an hour earlier than previous Discourses.

The doors will open at approximately 6.45pm.

Filming

This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

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