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Monthly Archives: April 2016

We’re beyond thrilled to welcome Professor Bill Sherman to the board of Good, Form & Spectacle. The fact that Bill is Director of Research and Collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum makes all this even better.

sherman3Bill Sherman is Director of Research and Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he is leading the development of a V&A Research Institute. He moved to the V&A from the University of York, where he was Director of the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies. He works on the ways in which objects come down to us from the past, what they pick up along the way, and how they speak across time and space. He is best known for his work on marginalia and has published widely on the history of reading and the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Our eyes first met across a crowded project called “History of an Object in 100 Worlds”, which I’d discovered in my own research around The Small Museum idea. The project’s brilliant, and back in September 2014, I left a note on its blog saying hello and could I please learn more. From there, I went to meet with the project’s leader, Lina Hakim, who introduced me to Bill.

We have a shared interest in objects’ histories. The History of an Object pilot project resulted in a short series of V&A staff presenting their own stories about favourite objects in the museum. It’s a great read, and I hope it gets circulated more widely. Having met quite a few subject experts by now, it’s one of my favourite, favourite things to have the privilege to listen to them tell me about the objects they study.

But, back to Bill. He’s already been hugely helpful to me, both as an advisor and know-er of most of the London cultural sector. He’s also largely responsible for the successful instigation of the new V&A Research Institute (VARI), “a new programme of research and teaching partnerships that will enhance access to the V&A’s collections and develop new approaches to research, training, display and interpretation.” Given that G,F&S is also heavily invested in R&D, it just seems like a great fit.

Bill says, “George and G,F&S are full of great ideas for making collections more accessible and more interesting to a wider range of people–inside and outside the walls of museums.”

Watch this space! Welcome, Bill.

We’re excited to have moved into a new home for all sorts of reasons. It feels great to have a home base, an HQ; somewhere where people can visit and spend a moment. I’m not the sort of person who likes working in cafes or on hot desks. Frankly, I like to spread myself around a bit, and settle into a groove.

440px-Hans_SloaneWe’re in Bloomsbury, and if you can believe it, we’re in the very building where Hans Sloane used to live. There’s a blue plaque for him out the front. He lived from 1660-1753, and for almost 50 years at Bloomsbury Place. He was a physician to the rich and famous, and is notable for giving his collection to Britain, to help found the British Museum. It’s really a thrill to walk in his footsteps each day, and dream about how the place would have looked full of his books and bits and pieces from Jamaica, amongst all sorts of other things. I popped into the Enlightenment Gallery in the British Museum last week just to have a look at the bits and pieces they have out on display from him. It was nice.

Bloomsbury really is very handsome. I have loads of ideas (that may never come to pass) about getting to know the area. At the very least, we should try to install a Hans Sloane pop up museum in the foyer of our building. A friend, Amelia, suggested a “heritage hang” of a bunch of his works that are now squirrelled away in various cupboards in museums across London. That would surely be better than the shit 80s hotel art we have there at the moment.

We’re gradually filling it up with things, and are slowing needing more storage… but it’s a nice sunny space, and we’re fantasising about getting a teeny bbq for the patio. Yes, PATIO.

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Before all that (temporary) mess trying to move into a sublet office in Whitechapel, I’d thought that Bloomsbury seemed like a good spot for a weird little museum-y company. And now we find ourselves mere moments from the front door of the British Museum.

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Mischief awaits!