Senior management

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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.

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

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer

Tim Reeve became the Chief Operating Officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum in August 2013. As well as Chairing the Senior Management Team, Tim has overall responsibility for the effective and efficient operation of the Museum, and the delivery of a coherent visitor experience strategy, with a particular focus on South Kensington. He directly manages the divisions responsible for Commercial & Digital Development, Finance & Resources, Design, Exhibitions & FuturePlan, and Learning & Visitor Experience.

Before joining the V&A, Tim was Director of Historic Properties at English Heritage, responsible for the 420 historic properties which make up the National Heritage Collection. His remit covered all aspects of the visitor experience, EH’s long-term capital programme, and maintenance and conservation of the historic estate. During Tim’s tenure the turnover of the NHC grew to over £50m a year, with an operational deficit of nearly £10m pa becoming an operational surplus of nearly £5m, with visitor numbers in excess of 5m a year, and with the number of EH members growing towards 1m a year.

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 Hadrian’s Wall Trust and of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), and is a member of the board of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Professor Bill Sherman, Director of Research and Collections. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Professor Bill Sherman, Director of Research & Collections

Professor Bill Sherman became Director of Research & Collections in April 2016, after two years as the V&A’s Head of Research. He moved to the Museum from the University of York, where he was founding director of the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies and where he remains an Honorary Professor. Bill has overall responsibility for the Collections Division—which includes curation, conservation, collections management and research—and he is leading the development of the V&A Research Institute (VARI).

Best known for his pioneering work on the history of reading, Bill has published widely on the material and visual culture of books and the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Bill received his BA from Columbia and his MPhil and PhD from Cambridge. He has held visiting positions at Caltech, Queen Mary (University of London) and Keio University (Tokyo), and has served on a range of boards, trusts and councils on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Anna Jackson, Keeper of the Asian Department, photo by Lizzy Johnson © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Anna Jackson, Keeper of the Asian Department

Anna Jackson became the Keeper of the Asian Department in 2010, and serves as the Museum’s most senior curator on the Senior Management Team.

Having joined the V&A in 1988, she has worked on numerous curatorial projects. Her particular specialism is Japanese textiles and dress, a subject on which she has published widely. Her other major research interest is the cultural relationship between Asia and the West and she has contributed her expertise to various V&A exhibitions including Art Nouveau 1890-1914 (2000) and Art Deco 1914-1939 (2003). In 2004 she was co-curator of Encounters: the Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800 and in 2009 lead curator of Maharaja: the Splendour of India’s Royal Courts.

Anna has a degree in Western art history and history from the University of Kent at Canterbury and completed her Masters at the Courtauld Institute in London. When her V&A career took her unexpectedly East, she studied Japanese art history at the School of Oriental and African Studies for two years.

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David Bickle, Director of Design, Exhibitions and FuturePlan. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

David Bickle, Director of Design, Exhibitions & FuturePlan

David was appointed Director of Design, Exhibitions & FuturePlan in May 2015. He is responsible for the V&A ‘brand’ in its many forms, ranging from exhibition posters to the new V&A East project in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Prior to joining the V&A, David was a Senior Partner at Hawkins\Brown Architects. He has more than 20 years’ experience of leading award-winning projects within the education, commercial, arts and regeneration sectors. Alongside developers Urban Splash, David was responsible for the regeneration of the Grade 2* listed Park Hill estate in Sheffield, which was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2013. A recent project was Here East - the repurposing of the former Olympic Press, Media and Broadcast Centres within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

David has chaired a number of competition and jury panels including Forgotten Spaces Sheffield, Regional RIBA Awards and advised the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale. He lectures at a number of universities and is an external examiner at the University of the Creative Arts. David sits on the boards of Oily Cart, S1 Artspace, Tannery Arts and the Drawing Room.

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Alex Stitt, Director of Commercial & Digital Development. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Alex Stitt, Director of Commercial & Digital Development

Alex Stitt joined the V&A in April 2014 to lead the newly formed Commercial & Digital Development Department.

He has a track record as a successful entrepreneur in the publishing and digital industries. In 2007 he founded iAnnounce, which went on to lead a digital revolution in family notices throughout the European local and regional press. He sold this business in 2013. Prior to that he held senior management positions at Telegraph Media Group, News UK Ltd and Bertelsmann.

He has an MBA from INSEAD, an English Literature degree from Oxford University and an Arsenal season ticket.

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Heather Francis Director of Finance and Resources. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Heather Francis, Director of Finance & Resources

Heather Francis was appointed as Director of Finance & Resources at the V&A in February 2014, responsible for the finance, HR, IT, legal and procurement functions.

Before joining the V&A, Heather worked for Save the Children in a number of different roles, both in the UK and overseas. Latterly, her role as Director of International Programs Finance for Save the Children International involved recruiting, developing and leading a professional global finance team to support the $1bn organisation.

Heather studied Economics at Southampton University and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

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Emmajane Avery, Director of Learning & Visitor Experience. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Emmajane Avery, Director of Learning & Visitor Experience

Emmajane Avery has responsibility for learning programmes, gallery interpretation and visitor experience at V&A South Kensington as well as all aspects of the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Her division delivers learning activities for schools, families, young people, university students and adults, including an innovative digital learning programme and community outreach projects. Visitor experience, including gallery staff, volunteers and visitor welcome are also part of her remit. She joined the V&A in March 2011 as Head of the Department of Learning.

Emmajane has over 15 years’ museum experience, having started her career at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1999 before holding the post of Curator: School and Teacher Programmes at Tate Modern. She was then Head of Education at the Wallace Collection for eight years where she oversaw the development of innovative school, public and community programmes, with one in six of all museum visitors taking part in a learning activity in 2009-10.

She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, followed by an MA in Museology at the University of East Anglia.

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Jane Lawson, Director of Development. © Victoria & 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 on behalf of the Friends of the V&A, 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 Marketing and Communications

Sophie Brendel was appointed Director of Marketing and Communications at 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.

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