Jean Vacher BA MA

Jean Vacher
Crafts Study Centre

Jean Vacher's background is in history, having completed an honours degree in this subject at Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1982. This was followed by three years teaching in further education. Her career in museums began in 1995 with Hampshire County Council Museum Service during which time she completed a master's degree in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London.

In 2001 Jean joined the Crafts Study Centre to lead on a major Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)-funded project to digitise its collections and in 2003 was invited to become the Centre's Collections Manager. In this role Jean project-managed three Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded schemes to upgrade the standard of care and access to the Centre's collections. In addition she has assisted the Centre's Director in the writing of grant applications and achieving Accreditation status from the Museums Libraries and Archives council.

Besides 20th century and contemporary crafts, she has worked with or curated exhibitions based on a broad range of collections from European peasant art to social and military history. Jean is an Associate Member of the Museums Association (AMA).

Area of Research Expertise

20th century and contemporary crafts and European folk art

Research Profile

Jean's interests are driven by collections-based research and an appreciation of the visual nature and construction of crafts/decorative art objects, and of their historical context and meaning. Although focused on this area, her research interests are not confined to any one country or historical period. She enjoys writing about subjects that combine both an analytical and visual approach.

Research activity

  • Visit to the Balkan states in 2007 (supported by internal funding) to research historic textiles in Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia
  • Visit to Japan in 2006 (supported by internal funding) to research the Bernard Leach source collections of Far Eastern pots. Also networked with researchers on a collaborative project to provide global access to the Crafts Study Centre's (CSC) Bernard Leach Archive via the Internet.
  • Researched and curated 'Muriel Rose: A Modern Crafts Legacy', contributed to and edited accompanying publication.
  • Researched and curated 'Transformations', 2005-6 and 20th Century Crafts, A Review of the first Crafts Study Centre exhibition 1972, 2004-5 at the CSC.
  • Contributed to the curation of 'The Lost Arts of Europe', a collaborative exhibition, Haslemere Educational Museum and the Department of Historical Studies, University of Brighton, 2000.
  • Graduated with an honours degree in British and European history (early Renaissance to mid 20th century) from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1982; then spent three years teaching in further education. A move to the museum sector in 1995 resulted in an MA in Museum Studies, Institute of Archaeology, University London and Associate Membership with the Museums Association.
  • From 1995 Jean has worked with a range of collections from fine art, European peasant art, social history and military collections, and has more than seven years experience of working with modern and contemporary crafts collections.
  • Jean has detailed knowledge of the Crafts Study Centre's collections, and her role as collections manager involves acting as a facilitator for other researchers. This becomes a form of research in itself as she participates regularly in the processes required to undertake a new line of enquiry.


  • Curator of Transformations, Tanner Gallery, Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, 11 October 2005 - 30 September 2006.
  • Curator of 20th Century Crafts, A Review of the first Crafts Study Centre exhibition 1972, Tanner Gallery, Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, June 2004 - 23 September 2005.
  • Curator of 'Muriel Rose: A Modern Crafts Legacy' October 2006 - November 2007
  • Curator of 'Gentlemen in Khaki' October 1999 - March 2000, Aldershot Military Museum

Chapters in books

  • The New Beginning in 20th Century Crafts, A Review of the first Crafts Study Centre exhibition 1972, Adrian Bland, Tass Mavrogordato and Jean Vacher, Canterton Books, 2005, ISBN: 0 9541627 9 X
  • Muriel Rose: A Modern Crafts Legacy, edited by Jean Vacher, (page 17 'A Modern Crafts Legacy: Muriel Rose), Canterton Books

Conference papers

  • Digitising Craft Collections presented at Designing Britain: the visual experience of post-war society, the Design History Research Centre Archives, University of Brighton, 3-4 September, 2002

Contributions to collective works

  • Editor of A Local History of Godalming, University of Surrey, Department of Educational Studies, 1984. This publication was the outcome of a local adult education course for which I was the course tutor for two years.