V&A and World of Wedgwood announce partnership

Wedgwood Museum to be renamed but collection will remain in central England
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Rebecca Atkinson
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London and the World of Wedgwood have announced a partnership that will ensure the Wedgwood Collection will remain in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent.
The collection of more than 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts and photographs, was under threat of sale in 2012. In 2014 it was bought by the Art Fund and gifted to the V&A, which loaned it to the Wedgwood Museum, part of the World of Wedgwood, on a long-term basis.  
The museum will be renamed the V&A Collection at World of Wedgwood under the terms of the new partnership, and a chief curator will be appointed by the V&A to create a public programme exploring the collection within its local context of North Staffordshire and the Potteries, and to manage the museum's curatorial staff.
The chief curator, who will also fully catalogue and digitise the collection, will be based in Barlaston but sit under the V&A’s department of sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and glass in London.
Although the collection will be stored Barlaston, the chief curator will explore possible opportunities for part of it to tour to locations across the UK and internationally.
“This exciting new partnership between the V&A and World of Wedgwood is a way for South Kensington to honour the craft, creativity and design brilliance of the Wedgwood Collection and the people of Stoke-on-Trent who made it,” said Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A.

“We look forward to opening up this phenomenal archive, museum and visitor attraction to new audiences, curating new exhibitions, and to building a lasting and transformative education programme for the communities of North Staffordshire.”

Gaye Blake-Roberts, a leading academic on Wedgwood and a curator at the Wedgwood Museum, has been appointed as an honorary senior research fellow with the V&A Research Institute.

“This position provides a platform for closer collaboration with the V&A and the extended Wedgwood collections, continuing my association with all my colleagues at Barlaston, as well as the chance to participate in many of the exciting projects and exhibitions planned over the next few years,” she said.

A curator of 17th- and 18th-century ceramics and glass will be recruited by the V&A later this year as part of wider plans to invest in its ceramics collection.
The partnership does not include any financial arrangements, and the chief curatorial role will be funded by the Finnish consumer goods company Fiskars.

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