Hedley Swain has been announced as the first Chief Executive Officer for the new Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust (RPMT) when the organisation leaves Brighton & Hove City Council in October 2020.
Hedley joins RPMT from Arts Council England (ACE), where he has been National Director for Museums and latterly Area Director South East. Before joining ACE, he was Head of Museum Policy and then Director of Programme Delivery at the Museums Libraries and Archives Council.
In his earlier career, Hedley was a curator and archaeologist and was Head of Early History and Collections at the Museum of London. He is an honorary lecturer at University College London and has published widely on museum and archaeological issues.
RPMT will take over the management of the venues and collections of the Royal Pavilion & Museums. The venues include the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Hove Museum and Art Gallery, Booth Museum of Natural History and Preston Manor.
Hedley will join RPMT during one of the most challenging periods in its history. The museum buildings were closed during lockdown leading to a loss of revenue. As CEO, he will be responsible for the loan of 120 items from the Royal Collection on display at the Royal Pavilion until 2021 and the National Lottery Heritage Fund project to restore Pavilion Gardens. Other new projects include a David Bowie photographic show opening in October and the launch of a new fundraising initiative.
Michael Bedingfield, Chairman of RPMT, said: ‘I am delighted Hedley is joining RPMT as our first CEO. This appointment was a crucial one and from an impressive range of applicants, Hedley was the unanimous choice of the interview panel. He is one of the leading museum professionals of his generation, and his wide-ranging experience, together with his impressive network of contacts both within the UK and internationally, will be invaluable when he joins us next month.
‘The level of interest in the CEO position was exceptional and underlines the high profile of the Royal Pavilion and Museums, both nationally and internationally. With the Royal Pavilion reopening in July and attracting impressive visitor numbers already, I see this as a real indicator of the key role our museums play in Brighton and Hove’s visitor economy.’
Hedley Swain added: ‘I am incredibly honoured to be taking on this exciting role. This is a great museum service and the Royal Pavilion is an iconic building. The culture of the city is really important to the people of Brighton & Hove and the council continues to be incredibly supportive. The new trust has put together an impressive set of trustees and already has fabulous staff. I look forward to working with all of them to make the new trust the success it deserves to be.’
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