Dr Sylvia Lahav

Staff details

Dr Sylvia Lahav




Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship


s.lahav (@gold.ac.uk)

Sylvia remains interested in the way in which museums of art use textual explanation to interpret their collections

Sylvia Lahav is a Lecturer at ICCE. The course she has created and devised, Education, Interpretation and Communication in the Art Museum is based on her experience of working for over twenty years in five of London's major museums: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, University of London
  • MA, Birkbeck College
  • First Degree, Open University
  • Diploma in Fine Art, Byam Shaw School of Art, (University of the Arts) 1900

Research interests

For many years she has been interested in the way in which museums of art use textual explanation to interpret their collections. Her PhD thesis, Interpretation in the Art Museum: authorship and access, used historical and institutional archive material to investigate the growth of text based interpretation in art museums since the mid 1990s as well as taking a philosophical approach, asking what it might actually mean to interpret an art work.

She has taught her own courses at Kingston University and the University of East London and given talks for the Slade Summer School.

She has lectured in France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia and has taught her own MA module in Abu Dhabi on interpretation in museums.
She has been a trustee at Camden Arts Centre and is now a member of the Corporation board of Plymouth College of Art.

She is an experienced lecturer and uses a range of interactive teaching methods and workshop activities as well as gallery and museum visits in her course structure.

Publications and research outputs


Lahav, Sylvia. 2023. Curating, Interpretation and Museums: When Attitude Becomes Form. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781032081410

Conference or Workshop Item

Lahav, Sylvia. 2018. 'Challenging notions of Homogeneity and celebrating 'difference' in display, education and interpretation strategies in museums and galleries'. In: European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management: 6th Workshop in Managing Arts and Cultural Organisations. Oxford, United Kingdom 30 November - 1 December 2018.