Kati Price, Head of the Digital Media Department, Victoria and Albert Museum

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kati Price, the Head of Digital Media at Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Kati oversees all digital activity, from the museum’s websites, apps and social media to developing new digital products, services and experiences.

Kati’s 18 years’ experience in the design industry spans both the commercial and the public sector. She  is passionate about digital technologies, design, and beekeeping.

Her undergraduate degree from the University of Durham, is in Geography and Anthropology. Kati earned her Master of Arts Degree in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art. Part of her Master’s Degree program involved working at the V&A—and it took her 14 years to return where she first began her career.

Digital Media Team

Kati oversees a team of twenty divided into three core areas: technology, design, and content. A recent brand refresh exercise helped bring a focus back on the V&A brand as it’s shown in both print and digital. The goal is to be both consistent and coherent–whether in an exhibit, on the side of a bus, or visiting the website.

V&A Website

When Kati started at the V&A in 2013 she was struck by how dated the website was at the time. The site offered a poor user experience and content that wasn’t compelling.  Oddly enough she is most proud of writing the business case for the website redesign project. It took almost four months to get the project approved.

The firm Made by Many won the tender to “create a new digital brand vision for the Museum”.  Their aim for the website redesign was to “bring the V&A to life online”. Version 1.0 of the redesigned and rebuilt web platform was released in April of 2016.

The V&A website attracts 12-14 million visits per year, roughly four times the actual physical visitor numbers. As a result, the V&A looks at the website as an experience unto itself, since the majority of its users aren’t able to visit the museum in person.

politics and museums

When asked if the V&A tries to remain neutral in these politically charged times, she reminds me that their new Director, Tristram Hunt, is a former Labour MP. Hunt recently announced that the V&A will campaign “to step in and do something” about the 40% decline of UK students studying art and design.

Kati’s Blog

Check out Kati’s Victoria and Albert Museum Blog, and an especially relevant blog about the digital development process–Choosing the right yardstick.



Block, I. (2017, September 28). V&A “to step in and do something” about fall in students studying design. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/09/28/victoria-albert-museum-tristram-hunt-encourage-more-design-technology-subjects-gsce-news/

Montgomery, A. (2016, April 22). How the V&A’s new website was designed. Retrieved from https://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/18-24-april-2016/how-the-vas-new-website-was-designed/

Owen, W. (2016, April 12). Open access! A new digital direction for the V&A. Retrieved from https://www.madebymany.com/stories/open-access-a-new-digital-direction-for-the-v-a

Price, K. (2016, December 22). Choosing the right yardstick: What research tools to use when in the digital development process. [Blog] Retrieved from http://www.vam.ac.uk/blog/digital-media/choosing-the-right-yardstick-what-research-tools-to-use-when-in-the-digital-development-process

Smith, R. P. (2017, November 3). How Artificial Intelligence Could Revolutionize Archival Museum Research. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-artificial-intelligence-could-revolutionize-museum-research-180967065/

V&A Secret Seekers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/secret-seekers?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=digital&utm_content=secret_seekers


  1. Jennifer Hall says:

    Your question about political involvement on digital media really piqued my interest. Her discussion about the erosion of education as a direct result of political “turbulence,” as you put it, really highlights the fact that museums are reaching a point where they really can’t stay neutral. The decision to see how individual museum voices play out in this arena is a really interesting one. It puts a lot on museum employees who seem to be encouraged to have a voice in this narrative, but if we’ve learned anything from the social media age, it’s that it only takes one slip-up when someone says the wrong thing to cause a total fracas.

  2. Jenna Stepp says:

    So much territory was covered in this talk! I think my favorite quote from Kati is about using technology to give audiences more “creative agency” in how they interact with the objects they encounter. I love the openness that this implies and the sentiment of leveraging technology to assist audiences to meaningfully connect with objects in their own, creative ways. The call for open annotations on the in “Exhausting a Crowd” is a great example of this; technology opens the doors to so many different ways to interact and engage.

    I’m fascinated by the V&A’s acquisition of WeChat! On some level, I see the parallels to displaying ancient tools in a museum; this will be incredibly important for future generations to understanding our society and how we operate. On the other hand, I struggle a bit to understand how a utility app can best be displayed and interacted with meaningfully when it’s intended to be so highly personalized and full of personal content. Thoughts?

    1. Robin Reif says:

      I agree with your question I often think about this interaction in education yes material should be engaging but if it was tailored to what students wanted it would be a class on napping, pokeman, and how to keep a job without working. It seems like a fine line indeed.

  3. Elizabeth G. says:

    Very interesting to learn that the V & A has such a large team working behind the scenes on their digital content. I am intrigued by the “mixed reality” immersive exhibit projects that they are delving into. She also mentioned that the museum has been conducting brand research; seeme like a trending topic among non-profits nowadays.

  4. Mary Mathias says:

    It was interesting (and also nice) to hear that while the V&A doesn’t have a stand-along digital strategy, digital is woven into the overall strategy and is one of its key components. I like that the museum has fully embraced that as a a core part of its operation, also demonstrated by the large digital staff Kati manages. Do you think most museums will move toward this type of strategy organization?

    I also found Kati’s comments about using machine learning in the museum very interesting and I look forward to following the progress of that project if it comes to be!

    1. Jenna Stepp says:

      Mary, I also appreciate that digital is interwoven into the V&A overall strategy. The way Kati speaks to it, it makes it feel like digital is already a essential and integrated element of the museum’s operations – it’s not something that’s still trying to fight to be established or proven valuable, it’s already central. This is definitely proven in the commitment to staffing a well-established team!

  5. Robin Reif says:

    I appreciated Kati’s mention of the museum website in itself that attracts visitors to the museum. 12-14 million visitors is a substantial opportunity like she mentioned to gain new members through the site’s design.

  6. kpolesky says:

    Fellow classmates, thanks for all your comments. There was such a wide range of topics that we discussed during the interview–I learned so much. I’ll be watching out for any published material by Kati and following her on every social media platform. I also thought that the machine learning was interesting in that the machines will do the photo tagging so that the curators will be freed up to do what they do best.

    1. I was also intrigued by using machine learning to automate some of the work with collection digitization. It seems like this could have many applications in museums, from adding metadata to collections to analyzing visitor traffic data, identifying trends in fundraising, and personalizing content. The possibility of using machine learning to add data sounds like it could have a great impact on the workload of the collections team, and maybe embracing this will help more institutions digitize their collections more easily. I look forward to following her work!

  7. Your interview with Kati Price really gave some amazing insight on the digital world of museums. Being from the Curatorial at LIM, which is where I plan to stay as collection/exhibitions are my passion, I was really intrigued to hear Price discuss her experiences with digital art. It had not occurred to me that this is something the digital media team would be involved with, but after listening to her, it makes sense. This rise in digitally created objects is something museum’s need to learn to handle. Standards need to be set forth as well as levels of control. This wasn’t something I had considered so I appreciated the excitement Price expressed when discussing just another way museum’s have learned to adapt in this technology based world.

    1. Andrea A. says:

      This is Andrea! I’m not sure why it doesn’t have my name on my profile.

  8. Kelly McKenna says:

    It was really interesting to hear that Kati is proud of getting the business case written and approved for the website redesign, which was a 4 month process. It can be easy to become tunnel-vision focused on the research and design aspects of a new web project that convincing others to “buy-in” may go on the back burner. Especially at a larger institution, there must be so much red-tape to get through before projects are approved and funded. Clearly Kati is skilled at pitching her ideas and communicating the importance of digital media projects.

  9. Zoey Washington says:

    Karen, DREAM interviewee for sure as this is my favorite museum in the world. Part of what I found so interesting is that she wasn’t necessarily trained in digital media (beyond website design as she mentioned) but has since grown into her role. I am also so impressed by how many people that they have on their team including developers and product managers who ensure prime performance.

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