Why Collect? with Priya Khanchandani 12 Dec 2018

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From Gareth Southgate’s World Cup waistcoat, to the Donald Trump Baby Blimp, the Whitechapel ‘fatberg’ and a 3D-printed gun – no sooner does an design object achieve media attention than museums seemingly begin lining up to add it to their collections. While museums have always collected contemporary objects, the collecting of objects that have a live connection to contemporary events is a growing and increasingly contested trend in museums of architecture and design.

In this series a variety of speakers reflect on the contemporary collecting practices they are involved in, exploring the motives that drive them, the contexts in which they operate, their results and impacts (both intended and otherwise), and the broader implications they have for the present and future of museums.

How much of a new departure is this type of collecting and how does it relate to ongoing contemporary collecting practices, for example in ethnography or oral history? In what ways does or can the practice reflect the changing nature of objects which now more than ever exist within complex systems and networks, digital or otherwise? What does this practice say about the changing role of museums in cultural and society?

Priya Khanchandani is editor of Icon magazine, a Trustee of Engage and co-runs Museums Detox, a collective of museum professionals campaigning for greater diversity in the arts. Priya specialises in the dissemination of ideas surrounding contemporary design and Indian culture. In 2015, she was appointed Head of Arts Programmes for the British Council India and formed part of a core team that conceived and launched the Year of Culture between the UK and India. She also curated the Reimagine arts programme, working with 22 UK cultural organisations on realising new and exciting work in India. From 2011-2015, Priya worked across the V&A and was responsible for object acquisitions, including a campaign to save the £4 million Wolsey Angels. Priya’s arts expertise is enhanced by her law diploma and early career as a lawyer at Clifford Chance, from 2005-2011. She has employed these skills in an arts context during her four years as Trustee of the Chisenhale Gallery, an ACE National Portfolio organisation.

Doors open at 18:45. We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access isn't straightforward. If you require step-free access or extra assistance, please contact us in advance of your booking on admin@soane.org.uk or 020 7405 2107.

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