The Labour MP, and former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt is to be the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new director, The unexpected appointment will trigger a by-election in Hunt’s constituency of Stoke-on-Trent Central.
“It’s about the opportunity to have one of the greatest museum jobs in the world.”
Mr. Hunt’s appointment by the V&A is an unusual one, as he has not had experience running or working within the museum industry. He is a respected historian – who lectures in modern history at Queen Mary University in London. Hunt is a specialist in urban history (his latest book being “Ten Cities that made an Empire”) This obviously appeared relevant by the V&A’s trustees as an asset to managing the museum and its varied collection. Hunt will not sever his ties with Stoke completely because the V&A owns the important Wedgwood collection of ceramics, which is displayed at Barlaston in the city.
Hunt came into politics in the late 1990s as a Blair supporting adviser to the science minister and Labour donor David Sainsbury. Life in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbin has become more challenging for politicians like Hunt since “Blairite” became transformed by many on the Left as past its sell-by date. Hunt is regarded as one of the brightest and most creative thinkers on the right of Labour, so his departure will be seen as reinforcing the grip on the party’s left.
Hunt follows in the footsteps of many illustrious Directors such as Sir Henry Cole, Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, and Sir Roy Strong. We wish him well!