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Speaker: Marta Ajmar


Deputy Director, V&A Research Institute (VARI)

Working at the interface between the museum, academia and the world of practice, she is the V&A lead for the research project Encounters on the Shop Floor: Embodiment and the Knowledge of the Maker. The project brings together practitioners in the arts, humanities, education, medicine, sciences and social sciences to explore new ways of recognizing and championing the embodied knowledge created through making and fostering its contribution to progressive social and environmental future.

Before joining VARI and leading its Higher Education strategy, Ajmar was Head of the V&A/RCA History of Design postgraduate programme, a world leader in the study of design and its global histories. As a historian of design and material culture of Renaissance and Early modern Italy she has published extensively in areas ranging from global design history to the cultural practices at the heart of domestic life while also curating exhibitions.

Her book-length publications include Approaches to Renaissance Consumption (Oxford, 2002), At Home in Renaissance Italy (exhibition book, London, 2006,) and Approaching the Italian Renaissance Interior: Sources, Methodologies, Debates (Oxford, 2007). Ajmar’s monograph (in preparation) Material Mimesis: Local and Global Connections in the Arts of the Italian Renaissance, investigates global artefacts and the circulation of making skills and artisanal knowledge between c.1400 and c.1600.

Ajmar has been the recipient of research awards from the Wellcome Trust, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Getty Foundation. She holds a MA and PhD from the Warburg Institute (University of London) and degrees from the Beijing Language and Culture University (北京语言文化大学), the ISMEO (University of Milan) and the University of Pavia.