Executive Board

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director. Photograph by Will Whittaker

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director

Dr Tristram Hunt is Director of the V&A – a family of museums dedicated to the power of creativity. Since taking up the post in 2017, he 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. Six UK venues now include: V&A South Kensington, the V&A Wedgwood Collection, V&A Dundee, Young V&A (formerly V&A Museum of Childhood), and the development of V&A East – two free cultural destinations – V&A East Storehouse and Museum, opening in east London, 2025.

Prior to joining the V&A, Tristram 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. 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) which tells the story of the V&A collection, and The Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain (2021).

Dr Hunt is a Cavaliere of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Fellow of Queen Mary University London, a member of the Council of the Royal College of Art, a member of the Court of Imperial College, President of the William Morris Society, Patron of the British Ceramics Biennial and Honorary Patron of the Chamberlain Highbury Trust. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Staffordshire University, Northumbria University and Keele University.

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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) 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 V&A East Museum and Storehouse in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London, as part of the East Bank cultural and educational legacy, and chairs the East Bank Board ensuring the shared vision of the Mayor of London and the East Bank partners is delivered over the long term.

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 served as a trustee of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the National Memorial Arboretum and Paintings in Hospitals. Currently he is a trustee of the Canal and River Trust, a member of the Hunterian Strategic Development Board, a Director of V&A Dundee and a member of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group (ERCG).

James Robinson, Acting Director of Collections. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

James Robinson, Acting Director of Collections

James Robinson has worked at the V&A since 2019 when he was appointed Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass, now the Decorative Art and Sculpture Department. He has extensive experience in regional and national museums in a range of positions at Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, the Museum of London, the British Museum, National Museums Scotland and the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.

James is an established authority in medieval material culture having published and lectured widely on a variety of topics in the field. As senior curator of late medieval collections at the British Museum, he led the refurbishment of the Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Late Medieval Europe (2009) and co-curated with partners in Baltimore and Cleveland the critically acclaimed exhibition, Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe (2011). He left the British Museum in 2012 to take up the position of Keeper of Art and Design at National Museums Scotland, where he was responsible for delivering four galleries of Decorative Art, Design and Fashion (2016). Immediately prior to joining the V&A, James was Director of the Burrell Renaissance, Glasgow where he oversaw the £68.25m modernisation of the Burrell Collection.

Jane Lawson, Director of Development. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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.

Woman with short brown hair smiles into the camera. She wears a white shirt and brown skirt. Her hands are in pockets
Nicola Huet, Commercial Director. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Nicola Huet, Commercial Director

Nicola Huet joined the V&A in early 2024 as Commercial Director. She is responsible for driving commercial growth across the family of museums. Nicola leads the Retail, Omnichannel/Ecommerce, Academy, Membership, Front of House and Catering teams whose aims are to deliver an excellent visitor experience and expand revenue streams.

Prior to joining the V&A, Nicola worked in the commercial sector and held roles in retail, digital commerce and marketing at leading consumer brands including Louis Vuitton, Selfridges, Sweaty Betty, Ralph Lauren and Boden.

Nicola has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Smiling woman with brown hair.  She wears red hooped earrings, a dark blazer and orange trousers
Dr Helen Charman FRSA, Director of Learning and National Programmes.

Dr Helen Charman FRSA, Director of Learning, National Programmes and Young V&A

Dr Helen Charman FRSA MA Dip is Director of Learning, National Programmes and Young V&A at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, having joined the Executive team in 2018. A creative and cultural learning professional for 30 years, her professional portfolio includes learning-led roles across education and cultural sector organisations, in the UK and overseas.

Helen was a founder member of the education team at Tate Modern from 1999 – 2006, 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 University College London and Birkbeck College. Her remit at the V&A Museum includes leadership of the former V&A Museum of Childhood into Young V&A, the nation's first national museum co-designed with and for children, working to an uplifting brief to create 'the most joyful museum in the world'. The broader scope of her role at the V&A includes overall responsibility for Learning and Digital, Interpretation, and National Programmes across the full V&A multisite.

Helen sits on the advisory board for The Durham Commission and the Cultural Learning Alliance, and is a Trustee of Chelsea Physic Garden. She is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Children's Health & Wellbeing. Recent international contributions include the UNESCO Global Framework on Culture and Arts Education, membership of the Association of Children's Museums International Advisory Council and a jury member of the European Museum Academy's Children in Museums panel.

Judy Roberts, Head of Human Resources. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Judy Roberts, Director of People and Change

Judy Roberts joined the V&A in September 2016, having started her career in biochemistry. She moved into the travel and tourism industry and subsequently specialised in Human Resources (HR). Judy has remained within HR, working across a broad spectrum of 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.

At the V&A, the People team supports the V&A to meet its strategic objectives through its people. The team support employees and volunteers through 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.

Judy is a chartered member of the CIPD and has a BSc in Psychology, she undertakes a number of non-executive roles in the sector, as an external member of appointment and remuneration committees.

Pip Simpson, Director of Design, Estate & FuturePlan. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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, Director of V&A East. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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.