Introducing the V&A East Culture Council

November 1, 2023

The V&A East Culture Council is a group of ambassadors who work across different creative spaces to champion for change, and open up access to arts and culture. It is important for us to launch a meaningful ambassador programme, one that brings together people who share our values from the wider V&A East ecosystem.

Over the coming months and years, a growing roster of ambassadors will collaborate with us on initiatives, events and activities. Alongside our existing partners and, of course, our Youth Collective, we’re excited to have these inspiring individuals join the V&A East family.

Meet the first five members of our Culture Council, and stay tuned for more…

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA

Yinka Shonibare CBE photographed in his studio, 2022. Image courtesy the artist. Photographer: Leon Foggitt, 2022.

Internationally renowned interdisciplinary artist Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA examines race, class and cultural identity through work that comments on the tangled relationship between Africa and Europe. Shonibare’s studio in east London is based just a stone’s throw from V&A East.

Yinka is a long-time collaborator with the V&A. In 2021, he created a special edition of 50 sculptures to help support a curatorial fellow placement at V&A East for a Black or POC curator as part of the Emerging Curators Fellowship with Deutsche Bank and Frieze. Watch Yinka speak about what the fellowship means to him.

Samuel Ross

Samuel Ross leaning
Courtesy: Samuel Ross

Samuel Ross is an acclaimed artist and designer and founder of SR_A and A-Cold-Wall*. Sharing our commitment to opening creative opportunities for all, Ross has long supported emerging designers and provides financial support for Black communities and Black businesses. V&A East director Gus Casely-Hayford recently collaborated with Samuel to join the advisory board for the Black British Artist Grant. As the programme enters its fourth campaign, it nears its first milestone of £100,000 directly donated to supporting exceptional Black British artists and entrepreneurs of colour, reaching 42 recipients. 

No stranger to the V&A, Samuel Ross spoke with the V&A team during the Fashioning Masculinities exhibition at V&A South Kensington.

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Elijah against a plain yellow background smiling
Courtesy: Elijah

Elijah is an artist, DJ, founder of Make the Ting and Community Fellow at SOAS. In 2021, the legendary Grime DJ (one half of Elijah & Skilliam) and east London native posted a simple yellow square to his Instagram with the message “Close the app, make the ting”. Since then, the simple graphic tool has been used to share reflections, questions and advice on navigating the creative process. The project has evolved beyond social media to billboards, talks, a fellowship at SOAS and recently an album.

Elijah is passionate about the creative community in east London:

“People ask me a lot ‘Where else would you want to live? Tokyo? New York? Berlin?’ If I didn’t live here, I couldn’t do what I do. It doesn’t stay a vibrant place organically, it’s by the people that stay and continue to try and make art for now and the next generation. So as long as I’m here I’ll be making the ting.”

Klaudia Fior

Klaudi seated on a bench
Courtesy: Klaudia Fior

Klaudia (aka Wavyute) is a presenter and content creator with a focus on lifestyle and social commentary. Klaudia merges the worlds of entertainment with social issues and politics, making complex issues more accessible to young people and those often not connected to those conversations. Known for her comedic street interviews and light hearted personality, Klaudia’s passion for demystifying creative careers, raising awareness of social issues affecting young people and creating great content felt like a natural fit for V&A East.

Tito & Soji

Tito and Soji outside at night
Courtesy: Tito & Soji

Tito Mogaji and Soji Sonibare are co-founders of Nourishment, an east London-based community celebrating Black British creativity, art, ideas and culture. Nourishment began on social media platform Clubhouse during the 2020 lockdown (remember those days?). Since then, it’s grown as a community for people who love and appreciate Black British art and culture. They share a monthly calendar of creative experiences and run regular field trips to theatre, art exhibitions, community events and even the odd blood drive!

You might recognise Nourishment from our content partnership last year.

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