The Victoria & Albert Museum has announced that former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt is to be its new director
Hunt has been the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central since 2010, and will resign his seat to take up the role.
He had hoped to succeed Ed Milliband as leader in 2015, and has been critical of the direction of the Labour party under its current leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Hunt said of his appointment: ‘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.’
He added that it was a ’moment of transformation and renewal for the V&A’ with Amanda Levete’s £49 million Exhibition Road building project opening later this year, the V&A Dundee designed by Kengo Kuma set to open in 2018, and the V&A East designed by a team led by Allies and Morrison, including O’Donnell + Tuomey and emerging Spanish talent Arquitecturia, in Stratford expected to open in 2022.
The V&A had been looking for a new director since the resignation in September of Martin Roth, the museum’s first foreign director since its founding in 1852.
According to the Guardian, Roth’s decision was fuelled by his disillusionment at the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
V&A chairman Nicholas Coleridge said: ‘[Hunt] has a highly compelling mixture of experience across public life, the arts, history, education and academia, and knows our collections well from his writing and broadcasting.
‘In addition, he is an informed and articulate leader and communicator on numerous facets of culture, both historic and contemporary, and I greatly look forward to working with him at the V&A.’
Hunt lectures on modern British history at Queen Mary University of London. He is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a founder of the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival and a patron of the British Ceramics Biennial.
He 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.