V&A curators face 20% job cuts
A fifth of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s curatorial staff are facing redundancy with a proposed radical restructuring designed to reduced costs following the pandemic lockdowns, with consultation with staff beginning next week.
Director Tristram Hunt said the government’s help through the Cultural Revival Fund was not enough and he is planning a radical restructuring of the V&A’s conservation and curatorial departments as part of the effort to £10m by 2023, with traditional departments being merged.
“Due to the ongoing financial impact of Covid-19 and the need to find £10m sustainable savings per year, the V&A is reviewing the structure of its curatorial teams as part of the V&A-wide recovery strategy announced last September. The proposed changes will simplify department structures, retaining curatorial expertise and specialisms across all key material types" said a spokesperson.
"The V&A’s archives and National Art Library will be brought into one directorate under the V&A Research Institute, alongside a transformation of digital and public access to the National Art Library, and the introduction of a new department of Asia and Africa Cultures. The proposals will enable new, collaborative ways of working and will strengthen our areas of expertise in national collections. Our focus remains on consulting openly and meaningfully on the proposals with our staff and trade union colleagues, and to support our staff community through this difficult process.”
Curators will be among those to go with 30 posts expected to go and about 110 from other departments out of a workforce of 980.
The government grant-in-aid covers 40% of the V&A’s annual running costs with exhibitions, events, merchandising and sponsorship used to provide the rest. In 2020 vistors numbers were down 80% on the 4m of the 2019.
Museums are to be allowed to reopen from May 17.