Casely-Hayford to run V&A East

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The cultural historian Gus Casely-Hayford is to be the first director of V&A East when it opens in the Queen Elizabeth Olympics Park, Stratford East, in 2023.

A former executive director of arts strategy at Arts Council England and director of Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Art, Dr Casely-Hayford, 55, has been director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington since February 2018. He was made an OBE last year

V&A East, a five-storey museum being built alongside UAL’s London College of Fashion, a new Sadler’s Well’s venue and new BBC studios, will have at its heart a new UK-US partnership with the Smithsonian spanning the arts, humanities, science and nature.

Casely-Hayford will also be responsible for Here East, a new collection and research centre bringing together more than 250,000 objects, 350,000 books, and 1,000 archives.

“This is a hugely ambitious project – for east London, for the UK and for international cultural exchange” said the V&A’s deputy director, Tim Reeve, who is in charge of the V&A East project. “It offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform how we engage young, diverse audiences, and to revolutionise how our collections are accessed and experienced 

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

Casely-Hayford added: "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. We want to give you the tools to tell and retell your own stories through objects that move you – and to change the way that we think about ourselves and the world.”


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