IT as the invisible curator

Tonight we take a peek behind the curtains at the V&A

Thursday 12 May 2011

18:30 start. Refreshments available from 18:00.

Room SW101 School of Computing, Building J3, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ


The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is Britain’s national museum of art and design. To many a Museum is a place where objects of interest are displayed in glass cases with dry informational labels. The V&A explodes this image with cutting edge exhibitions exploring digital art and modern popular culture, an outstanding programme of ‘ultra chic’ special events and educational programmes, not to mention an enthusiastic and expert staff of c.1,000 devoted to engaging the public in the beauty of the collections.

This evening we will go behind the doors marked ‘private’ and explore the award winning technology required to support the maintenance, research, and display of the millions of objects in the V&A’s collections. We will consider the challenges of tracking where everything is, moving priceless and fragile objects (and shipping them internationally!), bringing the knowledge of the organisation into the public domain, and the technology into the 21st century!


Sarah Winmill is Head of IS Services at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she has worked for 7 of the last 8 years. Sarah relishes working for arts heritage charities in unique environments, previously enjoying the Royal Academy of Arts, Historic Royal Palaces (including HM Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace), and the Royal Albert Hall.

Following four years at the Royal College of Music studying viola, her early IT career focused on ticket sales and retail systems before a fascination with data networks lead her to infrastructure, and she was finally seduced into management.

Sarah holds an MSc in Data Communications, is a Chartered Member of the British Computer Society, serving on the committee of BCSWomen, and is Chair of the Charities Consortium IT Directors Group. In 2008 she was a Finalist in the Intel IT Leader of the Year, at the BCS IT Industry Awards.