Deyan Sudjic OBE and Alice Black to step down as co-directors

After more than 12 transformative years at the Design Museum helm, co-directors Deyan Sudjic OBE and Alice Black will step down from their leadership positions at the end of January 2020.

Deyan Sudjic OBE and Alice Black

Shad Thames venue (1989-2016)

Kensington High Street venue (opened November 2016)

Having worked together for 12 years leading the transformation of the Design Museum, from a small specialist institution to an award-winning museum dedicated to contemporary design and architecture, relocated in a refurbished landmark from the 1960s, Deyan Sudjic and Alice Black will step down in January 2020 as co-directors of the Design Museum.

Deyan Sudjic and Alice Black made possible the museum’s £82m move to its present home in Kensington, tripling its size and attracting more than 1.9 million visitors in the past three years. Under their leadership, the museum has seen annual visitors grow fivefold, from 120,000 to 600,000. Since 2006, the museum has staged more than 90 exhibitions and installations on contemporary design of all kinds from fashion to technology. Deyan and Alice grew the museum’s international footprint increasing the number and scale of Design Museum exhibitions touring across Europe, Japan, Korea and for the first time in China. In 2018, the Design Museum was named European Museum of the Year.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition (April-September 2019)

Designs of the Year (2007- )

Deyan Sudjic will become Director Emeritus from January 2020 in recognition of his curatorial and creative leadership in successfully establishing the museum as the foremost institution of its kind. Appointed director in 2006, he conceived the strategy for a major expansion of the museum that would offer free admission for the first time, and include a permanent display giving a wide public an insight into the nature of design.

Deyan initiated the Designs of the Year Award in 2007, which has provided an annual exploration of the most significant new designs in the world and the Designers in Residence programme that every year supports emerging designers. Deyan Sudjic devised a series of ground-breaking exhibitions at the museum, including the first UK retrospective on the work of Zaha Hadid and in 2019, he curated Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, the most successful exhibition in the museum’s history attracting 170,000 visitors.

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier

Building the new Design Museum

Alice Black joined as deputy director in 2007 to lead the transformation of the institution and the project to move the museum to Kensington High Street. She was instrumental in professionalising the museum, developing innovative learning programmes and commercial funding streams, as well as winning major institutional funders and corporate partners including the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. Alice oversaw the development of the exhibitions Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier and Christian Louboutin: 20 years, achieving critical and box office success. In recognition of her significant contribution she was appointed co director when the museum reopened in its new building in 2016.

Lord Mandelson, Chairman of the Design Museum said, ‘I thank Deyan and Alice for their extraordinary contribution to making the Design Museum the success it is today. Together with the board of trustees we wish them every success in their future endeavours.’

Terence Conran, Founder of the Design Museum said, ‘Moving the Design Museum to Kensington is the most significant moment of my whole career in design because it allowed all my early dreams and ambitions to come true. We have created a world class museum with the size and scope for the serious promotion and celebration of design and architecture in this country. I am eternally grateful to Deyan and Alice for their outstanding work in leading and realising this vision and for the three successful years we have enjoyed in our museum’s new iconic home. They have created the robust foundations that will ensure the Design Museum continues to promote the importance of design to our country for decades to come.’

Alice Black said, ‘Having established the Design Museum in its new home, after record visitors this year, I am now ready for a new challenge.’

Deyan Sudjic said, ‘We have shown that design can change the world, and that the Design Museum has changed design. Now I want to see where design is going next.’