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Tristram Hunt Announced as New Director of the V&A

The post-Brexit era heralds huge turbulence in one of London’s most famous cultural institutions as Tristram Hunt, the former shadow education minister and staunch critic of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is set to oversee change at the V&A following his appointment.

Departing director, Martin Roth, tendered his resignation in the wake of the Brexit vote. Roth oversaw some outstanding exhibitions during his tenure: Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty; London Fashion in the 1980s; and ,David Bowie is. The V&A also enjoyed a popular collaboration with gal-dem magazine, which saw queues round the block all agog for DJ sets, talks and fashion shows.

Hunt has a background in the arts, especially Victorian urban history, and is a historian, writer, politician and broadcaster. He’s had a deeply held love for the V&A since childhood. His appointment comes just as the museum goes forward with new sites and galleries in Dundee, China and Stratford. In 2014, Hunt presented the museum with the Wedgwood Collection, featuring 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters, pattern books and photographs from 250 years of British ceramic production. Known as one of the most important industrial collections in the world, it’s named for a factory owned by Josiah Wedgwood, which is still in production and an icon of British design.

Hunt lectures on British History, has authored several history books and appeared on BBC and Channel 4. He curated the Mayor of London’s History Festival. Most controversially, he believes that London museums should start charging entrance fees again, to relieve the financial pressures on regional institutions. In a time of great cultural and structural change, it is to be hoped that Hunt does not undo all the good done by his predecessor.


Photography courtesy V&A.