Executive Board

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director. Photograph by Will Whittaker

Dr Tristram Hunt, Director

Dr Tristram Hunt became Director of the V&A in February 2017. Formerly the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central, he served as the Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

He has a First Class degree in history from Trinity College, Cambridge (1995), and served as an Exchange Fellow at the University of Chicago (1996). Tristram has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, on ‘Civic Thought in Britain, 1820-1860’ (2000).

In 1997, he became a Special Adviser to Science Minister Lord Sainsbury (1997-2000), Associate Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics, King’s College, Cambridge and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Between 2001-2010, Tristram combined his post as Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London, with work as a history broadcaster, presenting a range of radio and television programmes for the BBC and Channel 4. He is the author of The English Civil War: At First Hand (2002), Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City (2004), the award-winning biography, The Frock-coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels (2009), and most recently Ten Cities That Made an Empire (2014).

He has lectured on British and international culture at the Centre for European Studies, University of California Berkeley; the Centre for European Studies, Harvard; Princeton University and the National University of Singapore.

Tristram has served as a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the History of Parliament Trust. He played a key role in helping to save the Wedgwood Collection from dispersal and is President of the British Ceramics Biennial. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

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), 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. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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. © 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 October 2016. She is responsible for external communications for the V&A’s audiences, visitors and stakeholders, and leads marketing, press, public relations and brand activity for the V&A in the UK and internationally.

Prior to joining the V&A, Sophie was Head of Digital Communications at the BBC, where she led PR and communications for digital, technology, R&D and innovation across the BBC, as well as the BBC’s corporate websites, blogs and social media activity. Highlights from the past few years include the BBC’s Make it Digital and micro:bit initiatives, BBC iPlayer, and the London 2012 Olympics.

Sophie joined the BBC in 2009 as Head of Strategic Communications, and previously worked for Reuters’ media and global news divisions, based in New York and London. Sophie has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University, and is a regular communications and digital industry speaker and awards judge.

Dr Helen Charman FRSA, Director of Learning and National Programmes. © Phil Sharp

Dr Helen Charman FRSA, Director of Learning and National Programmes

Dr Helen Charman was appointed Director of Learning and National Programmes in March 2018. The division offers a variety of ways to engage with V&A collections and expertise across the V&A in South Kensington, at the Museum or Childhood in Bethnal Green and through our National Programme. A responsive and inspiring Learning Portfolio creates unique learning experiences for primary, secondary, college students and teachers that are rooted in creative pedagogy, harnessing the power of the V&A collection, displays and exhibitions for now and for the future. The V&A Learning Academy offers adult courses as well as training for professionals in the culture and heritage sector, both nationally and internationally.

Prior to joining the V&A, Dr Charman worked at the Design Museum as Director of Learning and Research since 2007, most recently on the directorate team that successfully mobilised the museum in its new home in Kensington. A cultural learning professional and a passionate advocate for the critical role of art and design in education, Helen has 25 years’ experience in museum and gallery education, including previous positions as Head of Learning and Access at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and Senior Curator: Education at Tate Modern. She is a member of the Steering Group for the Cultural Learning Alliance, the Advisory Board for Chelsea Physic Garden, a Governor at Forest Hill School in South East London, and a former trustee of Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education.

Dr Charman holds degrees from Oxford University (BA Hons English Literature), and the University of London (MA History of Art and Doctorate in Education). She currently teaches on the University of London’s MA Museum and Gallery Education, the Southbank Centre/Kings College MA Education in Arts and Cultural Settings and the Design Museum/Kingston University’s MA Curating Contemporary Design.

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

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.

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.