Victoria & Albert Museum Friday Lates

The original after-hours art and design public event, the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Friday Lates celebrate engaging creatively with contemporary art, design and performance. An ever changing free public program that aims to reach new audiences through engaging, inspiring and provoking content on the last Friday of each month.

The Victoria & Albert Museum
South Kensington (and occasional pop-ups across London), London UK

2018 - Ongoing

Friday Late - Anthropocene - September 2019. Photo © Hydar Dewachi.

Friday Late Assistant: Alex Boyes/AB Curatorial Design

Lead Curator: Jenna Mason

Lead Producer: Yewande Odunubi

Friday Late Coordinator: Flora Parkin

Content type: Visual Art, Design, Performance, Public Engagement

Like the Victoria & Albert Museum itself, the Friday Lates expand on the Museum’s mission to enrich lives through the promotion of art and design via its permanent collections, programs and temporary exhibitions. However, where the Friday Lates differ is through distinctly new opportunities for emerging creative talent, and giving representation to voices or topics outside of core content. It is a playful programme that breaks down barriers and provides a safe place to explore what can sometimes feel like unsafe ideas.

 Friday Late - (De)constructing Masculinities - September 2018. Photo © Graham Turner.

Supporting lead curators and producers to challenge perceptions of what the Victoria & Albert Museum is, each Friday Late involves multiple interventions within the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibitions, permanent collection spaces, courtyards, lecture theatres and more. Different overarching themes and a shifting line up of creative participants further reinforce this to ensure no Friday Late is ever the same. Like all Friday Late Assistants, encouraging successful interaction demands a careful balance of accurately communicating content on behalf of artists, whilst gauging audience needs to protect accessibility.
Popular Friday Lates have included (De)constructing Masculinities (September 2018), Food For Thought (June 2019), Copy/Paste (March 2019), No Place Like Home (August 2019), and Anthropocene (September 2019). Highlights from these include facilitating panel discussions, shadowing creative workshops, stimulating participatory performances, invigilating displays/installations, protecting digital/media access, and making visitors feel comfortable when exploring experimental or cross-disciplinary formats.

Friday Late - Sonic Boom - February 2019. Photo © Hydar Dewachi.

As a creative professional the Friday Lates have been a consistently rewarding opportunity to witness new approaches and connect with diverse experiences. From the perspective of artists, participants are employing innovative modes of enquiry compared to traditional institutional frameworks. Additionally, whilst most artists have not exhibited within national organisation like the V&A before, participants are all given an equal weighting when presenting.

From the perspective of audiences, attendees are consistently younger and from outside of core V&A demographics. Over half of visitors are from creative fields, and a large proportion being first time visitors to the Museum. The Friday Lates therefore providing a unique opportunity to connect with fresh perspectives, and directly engage with next generations of museum visitors - what they value, how they feel, and what they believe art and design can offer society.

Friday Late - Food For Thought - June 2019. Photo © Hydar Dewachi..

Press and Media

Victoria & Albert Museum,
Friday Late, 31 May 2019.
The Guardian, People of colour are painfully absent from our museums. Let’s change that, 04 November 2016.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Friday Late, 31 May 2019.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Friday Late, 31 May 2019.
© AB Curatorial Design 2020 — London, United Kingdom