The curator, cultural historian and broadcaster Gus Casely-Hayford has been appointed as the inaugural director of V&A East, the new museum complex being created by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in east London.
Casely-Hayford is currently the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington DC. He will take up the newly-created director role at the V&A East in spring next year.
Hayford will lead on developing the creative strategy and curatorial programming for V&A East’s two venues, which comprise a new museum at Stratford Waterfront and a collection and research centre a 10-minute walk away at Here East. He will be responsible for driving new audiences and creating a brand vision and identity for the venues, as well as managing the curatorial and project teams.
V&A East will host a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, which manages 23 museums and cultural spaces in the Washington and New York areas, including the institution that Casely-Hayford currently heads.
The storage and research centre, called Here East, is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Open to the public, the site will house more than 250,000 objects, 350,000 books, and 1,000 archives intended to “reinvent the idea of a museum store as visitor experience”.
Casely-Hayford is renowned for bringing postcolonial perspectives on Africa to a wider audience through his work as a curator, writer, broadcaster and lecturer. He has consulted on many exhibitions, including Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire, and West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song at the British Library, both in 2015.