Gus Casely-Hayford is inaugural director of V&A East

November 8, 2019

After a competitive international search, we have appointed the renowned museum director, cultural historian, writer and broadcaster Gus Casely-Hayford OBE, PhD, as the inaugural director of V&A East.

Gus Casely-Hayford. Photo courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Currently director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., Gus will join us in spring 2020 to lead the creative strategy and programming across V&A East’s two new public venues – a five-storey museum on Stratford Waterfront and a dynamic collections and research centre at Here East – both now under construction in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Both sites will open in 2023 as part of East Bank, a new powerhouse of culture, education, innovation and growth.

Gus will lead the V&A East curatorial and project teams, working with Chief Curator Catherine Ince and V&A East Project Director Claire McKeown. His appointment marks a significant milestone in the V&A’s expansion beyond South Kensington, with plans for a major transformation of the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green well underway, and the opening of our new galleries in Dundee and Shenzhen.

Gus brings wide-ranging and extensive experience in arts leadership, scholarship and creative programming. He lectures widely and is a Fellow of the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, Honorary Fellow of SOAS, and a Clore Fellow. He has also sat on the boards of many arts institutions, including the National Trust, the Caine Prize for African Writing and London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Gus has advised organisations from Tate to the Royal Shakespeare Company, and consulted on numerous exhibitions and creative projects. He’s also a celebrated writer and broadcaster with several presenter credits for BBC, Sky Arts and Channel 4. In 2017 he gave the impactful TEDGlobal Talk The Powerful Stories that Shaped Africa and in 2018 he became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to arts and culture.

V&A East is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the V&A to transform how we engage young and diverse audiences. It’s a chance to reimagine our own museological practice, and open up access to our collections to create a truly unique visitor experience rooted in its east London context, yet international in outlook. We have found creative leader to drive forward our vision for the project and, with his prestigious background and wealth of expertise, Gus is perfectly placed to lead V&A East’s growing team and to develop its new identity, purpose and programme. I’m delighted to have him on board.

Stay tuned for more information and follow us on Twitter to see how you can get involved in V&A East as we get closer to opening in 2023.

3 comments so far, view or add yours


Amazing news!! Super congratulations and I can’t wait to see what stellar and always-relevant programming he comes up with!!! Well done V&A!!

First of all Congratulations!! I am an architecture student looking to find more about the V&A East project for classes. Where should I look for the floor plans and architectural drawings? Thank you!

Fantastic addition to the team looking forward to working with you and other members on this brilliant arts project

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