Dr Tristram Hunt, Director
Dr Tristram Hunt is the Director of the V&A – the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Since taking up the post in 2017, Dr Hunt has championed design education in UK schools, encouraged debate around the history of the museum’s global collections and overseen the transition to a multi-site museum, with the opening of V&A Dundee, the creation of Young V&A (formerly V&A Museum of Childhood), and the development of V&A East – a new museum and open access collections centre in Stratford, East London. Prior to joining the V&A, Dr Hunt was Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central and Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He has a doctorate in Victorian history from Cambridge University, has worked as a Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary University of London, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In addition to numerous radio and TV programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, he is the author of several books, including Ten Cities That Made an Empire (2014), The Lives of the Objects (2019) telling the story of the V&A collection, and, most recently, The Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain (2021).
Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer
Tim Reeve has been Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world's leading museum of art, design and performance, since 2013.
Tim takes a strategic and operational overview of all museum activities, as well as directly leading the divisions responsible for the V&A's commercial and digital activities, exhibitions, FuturePlan, finance and resources, marketing and communications, security and visitor experience. He also leads the V&A's partnership with China Merchant's Group, which saw the creation of the new V&A Gallery at Design Society in Shenzhen, China, which opened in December 2017, and on the V&A's wider international strategy. Tim is also leading the development of a new 'V&A East' in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London, which will see a new research and collections centre alongside major new permanent gallery and exhibition spaces, as part of the East Bank cultural and educational legacy.
Before joining the V&A, Tim was Director of Historic Properties at English Heritage, responsible for the management of the 420 historic properties which make up the National Heritage Collection. His remit covered all aspects of the visitor experience, the long-term capital programme, and maintenance and conservation of the historic estate.
Tim is a graduate in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London, and studied at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and INSEAD on its International Executive Programme. He has also served as a trustee of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) and the National Memorial Arboretum. Currently he is a trustee of Painting in Hospitals and the Canal and River Trust, and a member of the Hunterian Strategic Development Board.
Dr Antonia Boström, Director of Collections
Dr Antonia Boström returned to the V&A in January 2016 as Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics & Glass, having spent almost twenty years working in American art museums. She started her early museum career at the V&A in the National Art Library and the Sculpture Department, and then worked in art publishing on the Grove Dictionary of Art, and as curator of the permanent collections of the Royal Academy of Art. Having completed her doctoral dissertation in 1996 she joined the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where she co-authored the Catalogue of Italian Sculpture at the Detroit Institute of Arts (2003). In 2004 she moved to the J. Paul Getty Museum as Senior Curator and Head of the Sculpture & Decorative Arts Department and led the reinstallation of permanent collection galleries, the installation of the Fran and Ray Stark Collection of Outdoor Sculpture, and curated several exhibitions, including ‘Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution,’ and ‘Messerschmidt and Modernity’. She moved from the Getty to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in 2013 as Director of Curatorial Affairs.
Antonia holds BA (Hons) and PhD degrees from the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialized in the collecting and display of Florentine Mannerist sculpture. She has published widely on sculpture, and is editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Sculpture (2004). She is the V&A nominated trustee to the Gilbert Collection and to Museums Sheffield.
Jane Lawson, Director of Development
Jane Lawson, who was appointed Director of Development of the V&A in 2005, joined the museum in 2002, shortly after which she became the Deputy Director of Development. Jane’s department fundraises on behalf of the Museum raising funds for capital projects, acquisitions, exhibitions, conservation and learning programmes. The department also runs the Membership programme, the Director’s Circle, Museum Events and Corporate Partnerships.
After completing her early education in Ireland, Jane gained a degree in History from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She began her career in book publishing, working in editorial roles on non-fiction titles at both Methuen and Penguin Books before moving to a Public Affairs role at Shell UK Limited.
Jane is a past Trustee of the Fashion Arts Foundation, a British Fashion Council initiative for the Cultural Olympiad in 2012 and is currently a trustee of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity.
Sophie Brendel, Director of Audiences, Commercial and Digital
Sophie Brendel joined the V&A in late 2016 as Director of Marketing and Communications, and is now the Director of Audiences, Commercial and Digital, responsible for building the V&A's reach, brand and commercial income, and placing the visitor at the heart of the V&A.
Sophie leads the Marketing, Comms, Digital, Front of House, Retail, Catering, eCommerce and Brand Licensing teams across the V&A's family of museums, from the V&A in South Kensington, to Young V&A, V&A East, V&A Dundee and the V&A Gallery in Shenzhen, China.
Prior to joining the V&A, Sophie worked in a number of senior roles at the BBC and Thomson Reuters in the UK and USA. As Head of Digital Communications at the BBC, she led PR and communications for digital, technology and innovation across the BBC, as well as the BBC’s corporate websites, blogs and social media activity. Highlights included the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital and micro:bit initiatives, BBC iPlayer, and the London 2012 Olympics.
Sophie has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and sits on a number of boards – including the cross-industry London Tourism Recovery Board, established during pandemic, and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair. She is also a regular industry speaker and awards judge.
Dr Helen Charman FRSA, Director of Learning and National Programmes
Dr Helen Charman FRSA, MA, Dip is Director of Learning, National Programmes and Young V&A at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London where she has worked since 2018. A creative and cultural learning professional for 30 years, her specialist field is design-led museum education. Helen’s professional portfolio encompasses schools, universities, galleries, museums, festival organizations, local authorities and charities. She was a founder member of the education team at Tate Modern in 1999 and on the directorate that mobilized the new Design Museum, London where she worked from 2007 – 2018.
She gained her Doctorate in Education and MA History of Art from the University College London: the Institute of Education and Birkbeck College. Alongside roles in the cultural sector in the UK, US and Australia, she has a keen interest in development education and has volunteered overseas in this capacity. She is a parent-governor of Forest Hill Community School in south-east London, on the Advisory Education Board for the Arts Council of England's Durham Commission on Creativity in Education and a Trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden. Her remit at the Victoria and Albert Museum includes leadership of the £13.5 M transformation of the former V&A Museum of Childhood into Young V&A in London's Bethnal Green, which will be the nation's premier national museum and creative powerhouse designed with and for the young, due to reopen in 2023. The broader scope of her role includes overall responsibility for Learning, Interpretation, V&A Academy and National Programmes.
Judy Roberts, Director of People and Change
Judy Roberts joined the V&A as Head of Human Resources in September 2016. Judy started her career in biochemistry, however moved into the travel and tourism industry and subsequently specialised in Human Resources (HR). Judy has remained within HR, working across different industries in the UK and Continental Europe, including travel, financial services, the police service and latterly at English Heritage where she was Head of HR, for the newly formed charity business. Judy is a chartered member of the CIPD and has a BSc in Psychology.
At the V&A, the HR department supports the V&A to meet its strategic objectives through its people. The team support the full employee lifecycle of attraction, recruitment, induction, learning, engagement, reward, and leaving employment, providing a centre of expertise on people and employment, working through a business partnership model with leadership teams.
Dr Philippa Simpson, Director of Design, Estate, and Public Programme
Dr Philippa Simpson took up post in December 2018. She leads the Design Studio, the Estate including all Capital Projects, and the Public Programme including exhibitions.
Philippa studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art and the University of Edinburgh, where she gained her BA Hons and MSc Res in History of Art. Having worked for a short time in the commercial art sector, she moved into museums as a curator at Tate, working on a range of international exhibitions and gallery projects while completing her PhD at the Courtauld on display culture and the genesis of the public gallery. She then moved to Royal Museums Greenwich to establish and manage an international touring exhibition programme. In 2014 Philippa joined the V&A to deliver a number of capital projects, including the Exhibition Road Quarter.
Jane Ellis, Director of Finance and Resources
Jane Ellis joined the V&A in March 2019 as Director of Finance and Resources. Before joining the V&A, Jane was Director of Corporate Services at the Science Museum Group, where she held a wide portfolio with responsibility for finance, technology and legal activities as well as leading on strategic income generation for the group. Jane developed her career in the cultural sector at the National Gallery, where she became Director of Finance and IT. She previously held accountancy roles at Deutsche Bank and at BMW, having undertaken her professional training at Arthur Andersen.
Jane has a degree in English literature from Cambridge University and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, OBE, Director of V&A East
Dr Casely-Hayford joined the V&A as Director of V&A East in March 2020. He is a curator and cultural historian who writes, lectures and broadcasts widely on culture, having presented a number of series for Sky, BBC radio and television and other channels. Formerly Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England, (Britain’s major Art’s funder) and Ex-Director of the Institute of International Contemporary Art, he has offered leadership to both large and medium scale organizations including the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. He has served on the boards of many cultural institutions, including the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery. Gus has lectured widely on culture, including periods at Sotheby’s Institute, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck, City University, University of Westminster and SOAS. He has advised national and international bodies on heritage and culture including the United Nations and the Canadian, Dutch and Norwegian Arts Councils. In 2005 he deployed these leadership, curatorial, fundraising, communications skills to organize the biggest celebration of Africa Britain has ever hosted when more than 150 organizations put on over 1000 exhibitions and events.
Gus gained a PhD from SOAS and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship. He is a Cultural Fellow of King’s College London.