Dr Tristram Hunt is the Director of the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, former MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and served as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education.
Tristram is also a champion of Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics industry, having played a central role in saving the Wedgwood collection of 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts, letters and photographs, following the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood in 2009. The V&A is now the legal guardian of the collection, which continues to be displayed at the Wedgwood Museum, in Barlaston, Staffordshire.
During his time as an MP, between 2010 and 2017, Tristram was also closely involved in encouraging the development of skills and education in Stoke-on-Trent. He worked on the Maths Education Partnership, raising the quality of maths teaching in the city, and the Fired Up Programme, which encouraged the return of ceramics skills and training to support the Potteries’ most renowned industry.
He also continues to be involved in the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, a celebration of the city’s culture and creativity, which has taken place at the Emma Bridgewater Factory since 2014 and counts Staffordshire University among its many supporters.
Prior to his political career, between 2001 and 2010, Tristram combined his post as Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London, with work as a history broadcaster, presenting a range of radio and television programmes for the BBC and Channel 4. He is the author of several books on British history, has lectured on British and international culture worldwide, served as a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the History of Parliament Trust, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Council of the Royal College of Art.
Since becoming the Director of the V&A, Tristram has been exploring ways to strengthen both the museum and his personal connections with the Potteries, supporting the city’s upcoming designers while continuing to protect its ceramics heritage.
The Award of Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University is bestowed upon Tristram in recognition of his championing of Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramics industry at both a global level, through promoting and marshalling support for the sector, and at grass roots, by encouraging skills development.