Currently director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C., Gus Casely-Hayford will be responsible for the creative strategy and programming across V&A East’s two public venues.

Both V&A East sites will open in 2023 as part of the wider East Bank redevelopment in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

What to expect from V&A East

V&A East
External render view of the new V&A museum at Stratford Waterfront © O’Donnell + Tuomey, Ninety90, 2018
V&A East
Internal render view of the new V&A collection and research centre at Here East © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, 2018

Once in role, the V&A East director will report to V&A director Tristram Hunt and Tim Reeve, who serves as V&A deputy director, chief operating officer and project lead at V&A East. Casely-Hayford will also join the V&A’s Executive Board and assume management responsibility for V&A East’s curatorial and project teams.

“We cast the net wide to find a creative leader of the highest standing, and with his prestigious career and background,” Reeve stated. “Gus is perfectly placed to lead V&A East’s growing team and to develop its new identity, purpose and programme.”

Who is Gus Casely-Hayford?

Gus Casely-Hayford OBE is a British curator, cultural historian, broadcaster and lecturer. Currently working as director of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C., he is a fellow of the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, honorary fellow of SOAS and a Clore fellow.

Casely-Hayford has also served on the boards of arts institutions including the National Trust, Caine Prize for African Writing, National Portrait Gallery and has been a member of the Blue Plaque Group.

Upon the announcement of his appointment, Gus Casely-Hayford said: “I feel enormously privileged to be asked to become part of the fantastic V&A team. It has long been the arts institution that I have looked to for innovation and inspiration. And what a brief – working to deliver a new museum for east London. And what a collection – the most thrilling single body of material culture I have ever encountered.

“The V&A is a museum with the appetite and ambition to really shift the way that museums work and engage. I cannot wait to share the magic of V&A East with new audiences and our old friends. We are going to craft dynamic and compelling ways for our audiences to get close to the extraordinary, to be transported across time and geography by the most beautiful and intriguing things.”

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