The V&A Trustees have today appointed Dr Tristram Hunt as the new Director of the V&A.
Tristram has served as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central since 2010, and was previously the Shadow Secretary of State and Shadow Minister for Education.
A historian, politician, writer and broadcaster, Tristram is an expert on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on Victorian urban history. He is the author of several books, including The English Civil War: At First Hand, and most recently Ten Cities That Made An Empire. A regular history broadcaster on BBC and Channel 4, Tristram has made more than a dozen series on subjects including Elgar and Empire, Isaac Newton and the English Civil War.
Tristram lectures on modern British history at Queen Mary University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a founder of the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival and a Patron of the British Ceramics Biennial, and was previously a Trustee of both the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and a Curator of the Mayor of London’s History Festival.
Tristram’s support of the ceramics industry, together with the Art Fund, played an important role in saving the Wedgwood Collection in 2014. The collection was gifted to the V&A and is on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent.
He brings widespread expertise across education, industry and politics to the V&A, and a keen awareness of the important role of major public institutions in the UK, having been at the forefront of political, cultural and public life for the last decade.
Dr Tristram Hunt’s appointment has been confirmed by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and he will join the Museum in the coming months.
Dr Tristram Hunt said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed Director of the V&A. I have loved the V&A since I was a boy, and today it is a global leader in its unrivalled collections, special exhibitions, academic research and visitor experience. It is a moment of transformation and renewal for the V&A, with the upcoming opening of the new Exhibition Road entrance, and new sites and galleries in Dundee, China and Stratford. I am particularly pleased that, through the V&A ownership of the Wedgwood Collection, my passion for education in Stoke-on-Trent can continue. The combination of the power of the collections and expertise of an inspirational team is what makes the V&A the world’s greatest Museum of art, design and performance. I am honoured to take on this exciting opportunity.”
Dr Tristram Hunt is Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central. Previously, he was a Member of the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Energy Intensive Industries. In 2013, he was appointed Shadow Education Minister and then Shadow Education Secretary, focusing on developing Labour’s policy on teachers’ professional development, vocational education and early years education.
He has a First Class degree in history from the University of Cambridge (1995), before serving as an Exchange Fellow at the University of Chicago (1996). Tristram also has a PhD from the University of Cambridge on ‘Civil Thought in Britain 1820-1860’.