Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Harriet’s Cultural Review: V&A, British Design 1948-2012 – 18/4/

If you can, do go and see the new exhibition at the V&A, British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age.


It's a feast for the eyes – the best of textiles, furniture, sculpture, technology and fashion over the period – and a blast of modern history. It takes you through the blossoming of the new towns like Harlow and Milton Keynes, and through innovation in design and manufacturing, with a gleaming E-Type Jag – still beautiful after all these years.


As well as a pleasure to look at and making us think about the past, this exhibition tells us something we should understand about the future.

For decades, cutting edge British fashion, new artists, and outlandish musicians have shocked convention but won worldwide admiration. And behind every exhibit is a story not just of youthful enthusiasm and breaking of new ground, but of the creative industries' contribution to job creation and economic growth.


This exhibition shows the building blocks of Britain's modern day centrality to the global music industry, fashion and film.  So it reminds us that as well as supporting design because people love it, we must back it because it creates jobs, brings tourists, sells exports and contributes to economic growth.


Congratulations to V&A director, Martin Roth; deputy director, Beth McKillop; and in particular to curator Ghislaine Wood.  This exhibition is much, much more than a trip down memory lane – though it is that too. Go and see it!

V&A review

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