V&A director Martin Roth resigns because he feels 'disillusioned by Brexit'

He previously said of the referendum result: 'Dropping out always means creating cultural barriers and that worries me'

Jack Shepherd
Monday 05 September 2016 14:23
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Martin Roth and Kate Middleton at the Museum of the Year Awards
Martin Roth and Kate Middleton at the Museum of the Year Awards

The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Martin Roth, is to resign this week. According to The Guardian, Roth will return to his native Germany, citing ‘his disillusionment at the Brexit vote’ as the reason for his leaving the post.

Reports from newspapers in both the UK and Germany revealed he would tell V&A staff of the decision today. When appointed director back in 2011, Roth was the first foreigner to hold the esteemed position.

While exact reasons for leaving have yet to be discussed, Roth recently told German Broadcaster DW the vote to leave Europe was worrying, explaining how “Europe is simply synonymous with peace.”

The 55-year old, born in Stuttgart, continued: “Dropping out always means creating cultural barriers and that worries me.”

He previously told the BBC that the referendum felt “like skiing in very thick fog,” adding that potential funders of the museum were "asking if we can put things on hold”.

During his tenure as director, Roth achieved a record number of visitors thanks to exhibitions on the likes of David Bowie and Alexander McQueen. Almost four million people visited in 2015 alone, leading to the museum winning the Art Fund's £100,000 Museum of the Year prize.

Announcing his departure, Roth said: ”It’s been an enormous privilege and tremendously exciting to lead this great museum, with its outstanding staff and collections, and I'm proud to have steered it to new successes and a period of growth and expansion, including new partnerships around the UK and internationally.

"Our recent accolade as Art Fund Museum of the Year feels like the perfect moment to draw to a close my mission in London and hand over to a new director to take the V&A forward to an exciting future."

The V&A told the BBC that Roth "intends to devote more time to various international cultural consultancies and plans to spend more time with his wife Harriet and their children, in Berlin and Vancouver”.

From May until October next year, the V&A will run The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, celebrating the band's long career and the 50th anniversary of their first single, “Arnold Layne”. You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 will launch this month at the museum.

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