That's Not My Age podcast

Senior Curator at the V&A, Dr Christine Checinska

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If you’re a fan of BBC2’s Secrets of the Museum, the series filmed behind the scenes at the V&A, then you will recognise my latest podcast guest. Dr Christine Checinska is the Senior Curator of Africa and Diaspora: Textiles and Fashion, and Lead Curator of the Africa Fashion exhibition, currently showing at the museum. ‘ We had to do the show now because the contemporary fashion scene on the continent is so inspirational, so innovative – we couldn’t wait,’ she says, ‘African creatives and African diaspora creatives are pushing boundaries and changing the shape of fashion. Now is the time to engage.’

Having started her career as a fashion designer, working for high street and designer brands, including Margaret Howell, Christine returned to study a PhD at Goldsmith’s University, in 2009. Colonizin’ in Reverse! examined ‘the impact of the creolised aesthetic of the Windrush Generation on English male dress’, and was very much inspired by her nattily dressed father. On completion, she moved into the art world and academia (as an associate lecturer), while continuing to act as a design consultant – eventually taking the job at the V&A in 2020.

‘I’ve spent over three decades exploring the relationship between cloth, culture and race,’ Christine says of her work, PhD studies and on-going research, ‘ the cultural exchanges that occur as a result of movement and migration, expressed by the clothes we wear, the objects we collect, the art we make and the stories we tell… But when it comes down to it, I embrace creativity for the sheer joy of it!’

I really enjoyed chatting to Christine about her career, we’re a similar age and have both worked in the fashion industry for decades. She admitted that in her mid-50s and quite comfortable with her freelance portfolio, she initially dithered about the V&A position, until a good friend persuaded her to take the leap. The Africa Fashion exhibition is stunning, if you haven’t seen it already it’s on until 16 April 2023 (and if you’re unable to visit the V&A read more about Africa Fashion HERE).



Producer and audio engineer: Linda Ara-Tebaldi

Host: Alyson Walsh

Guest: Dr Christine Checinska

Music: David Schweitzer

Artwork: Ayumi Takahashi

Coordinator: Helen Johnson

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