African Heritage at V&A in October and November

V&AThe months of October and November at the V&A promises to be fabulous.
This is the Club to Catwalk: 80s Fashion in London exhibition season here at the V&A.

The names on the bill from music genius, to artistic and academic rigour, are top dollar—here you go: Dennis Bovell, Norman Jay Mbe, Madeline Bell, Linda Lewis, Janet Kay, Lindsay Wesker, Dave Vj, Sonia Poulton, Mykaell Riley, Rudi Page, Keith Lawrence, Prof. Carol Tulloch and Karen Binns.

What’s available:

  • Explore Africa in a community education session.
  • Join V&A connects with 80s sound, fashion & culture.
  • Attend a UK soul & lovers rock panel.
  • Tour the hidden histories of black people in medieval & renaissance times.
  • Hear the amazing stories of 3 black women who hugely impacted on the 70s music scene.

You are strongly advised to read the following carefully, as there are several events listed, some with VERY similar names but different, and all with booking details. Events that are free and drop-in are exactly that, free and drop-in. Some events are free but you MUST book. Keep on checking the on-line links as information is updated.

Community Education Study Session
Introduction to Africa at the V&A—textiles & print
Wednesday 9 October 2013,
Victoria and Albert Museum
Sackler Centre
14.30 – 17.30 (for a 14.45 start)
This study session explores textiles and prints within the V&A’s rich collection of African artefacts. You will also experience the self guided tour “Spotlight on Africa and the Diaspora” that will expose you to objects on display throughout the museum’s Galleries.
Free event, no booking required, arrive promptly.

V&A Connects
Union Black: From the Decks to the Runway
Friday 11 October 2013
Victoria and Albert Museum
Sackler Centre
18.30-20.30 (for a 19.00 start)
Union Black Curators Tony Charalambous and Jacqueline Springer will explore the journey, sound and culture undertaken in their influence on sartorial style. Speakers include celebrated DJ, record label founder and radio broadcaster Norman Jay, MBE who will discuss the migratory influence his musical selections imparted in ‘80s club-land, Prof. Carol Tulloch, University of the Arts/V&A Fellow and international stylist Karen Binns who will explore how fashion bridges both music selection and fashion design.
Free event, drink included
to book call 0207 942 2211 or go to

UK Soul and Lovers Rock Panel—keynote event
Friday 18 October 2013
Victoria and Albert Museum
Sackler Centre
18.30 – 19.45
Join Dennis Bovell (record producer and musician), Lindsay Wesker (writer, DJ and broadcaster), Dave VJ (DJ, broadcaster and entrepreneur), Sonia Poulton (writer and broadcaster) and chaired by Mykaell Riley (Westminster University, Steel Pulse) as they relive the sounds of the 70s and 80s UK Soul invasion and the sweet falsetto that was Lovers Rock. How did underground radio, the record shops that were the hang outs for the latest tunes and hippest fashions, the club scene that cemented many new relationships, subcultures and countless new dances impact on British music and style today.
Fee: £5
to book call 0207 942 2211 or go to

Looking Sweet: UK Soul and Lovers Rock Scenes
Friday 18 October 2013
Victoria and Albert Museum
Grand Entrance and throughout the museum
18.30 – 21.45
The 80s embraced love, radicalism and self-expression. Join us down memory lane and share your stories of Afro hair and fashion trends, the club scene, record shops, music and pirate radio stations. Highlights include our DJ set featuring Denis Bovell, Lindsay Wesker, Dave VJ and Keith Lawrence; the 2011 film ‘Lover Rock’ by Menelik Shabbaz; film footage from Afro Hair and Beauty 1983; Rudi Page former Marketing Director for black hair and beauty business giants Dyke and Dryden; a guided tour of the exhibition ‘Club to Catwalk: 80s fashion in London’, and remember to bring along your favourite album covers and photographs or come in your 80s retro outfit and have your photograph taken as part of our visitor led 70s & 80s pop-up archive display.
Free and Drop-in, no booking required

Hidden in the Collections Tour—Africans in Medieval and Renaissance Art
Thursday 24 October 2013
Victoria and Albert Museum
Meeting Point, Grand Entrance
13.00 – 14.15
The imagery and reality of the black African presence in Renaissance Europe held within the V&A collection will be revealed. The tour will look at objects from common village churches to the grandest royal courts which demonstrate the social and cultural effect of people of African origin in a number of guises; heathens, servants, royalty and saints. Tour will be led by Michael Ohajuru.
Free, first come first served (26 places), no booking required

Black Women of Soul, Rock and Pop
Friday 22 November 2013
Victoria and Albert Museum
Sackler Centre
19.00 – 20.30
Celebrate the musical and stylistic image of black women singers and songwriters with broadcast music journalist Jacqueline Springer. Explore how their trend setting in the 60s and 70s went on to migrate and influence performance in the 80s and early 90s. Special guests include singers Madeline Bell, Linda Lewis and Janet Kay.
Jointly organised with Contemporary Black Music Culture™
Fee: £9, £6 concessions
to book call 0207 942 2211 or go to