Writing your interpretation

Spending the day at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum is always a pleasure. Add to that the opportunity to learn how the V&A plans the design and delivery of their gallery spaces, makes for an extremely interesting day.

Our Interpretive Planner & Content Developer, Tina, reflects on the V&A’s Learning Academy Seminar: Writing your interpretation for Exhibitions, Galleries and Displays, which she attended on 23rd February 2018.


Bryony Shepherd, Head of Interpretation at the V&A, presented the V&A’s approach to interpretation planning and led us through the day with poise. Bryony noted that acclaimed Film Director, Christopher Nolan, once said that when writing a film synopsis ‘…it is very easy to get lost’. The quote about film directing resonates.

Interpretation planning can be similar. The parallels were pointed out by Bryony who led a lively discussion on interpretation planning. Interpretation, she said, is a bit like planning a story but you are balancing your creativity with the real constraints of physical spaces.

Full of fresh thoughts (and sandwiches) we walked through the Winnie-the-Pooh and Europe galleries to see interpretation in action. These two case studies demonstrated the opportunities and challenges of creating temporary vs permanent exhibitions. To round up the day we tested some of the tips and techniques on a practical task.

This was an excellent seminar full of valuable insight into the V&A’s approach to interpretation. It adds to our existing interpretive methods and will provide added benefit to many of our projects.