V&A to hire Taylor Swift adviser in bid to stay relevant with Gen Z visitors

The V&A is hiring a Taylor Swift superfan adviser
The V&A is hiring a Taylor Swift superfan adviser
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The V&A is hiring a “Taylor Swift superfan adviser” as part of a drive to become more relevant to young people.

The museum has announced the creation of nine new roles to advise on topics such as emojis, Pokémon cards, drag and Crocs.

UK-based “Swifties” are invited to apply for a job providing insight into “the culture and artisanry around handmade signs, friendship bracelets and Taylor Swift memorabilia”.

To launch the initiative, the museum has hired the same PR agency that organised Brooklyn Beckham’s takeaway menu last month in conjunction with Uber Eats.

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, said the new appointments would add to the museum’s knowledge of art, design and performance.

“The V&A is the home of creativity and today we are looking to the British public to share their collections and knowledge with us,” he said.

“These new advisory roles will help us celebrate and discover more about the enormous and often surprising, creative diversity on offer at the V&A, as well as helping us to learn more about the design stories that are relevant to our audiences today.”

Successful candidates will meet with the V&A’s curatorial team to share “their unique insights and knowledge of their specialist subject”, bringing additional “grassroots expertise in highly specific cultural niches”.

A spokesman for the museum said: “These are unique advisory roles, not salaried positions. The superfans will be paid per session at a rate that reflects the work they’re doing.”

They will also receive a discount in the V&A shop and restaurants and free entry to exhibitions.

The V&A receives grant-in-aid from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which last year totalled £67 million. In 2021, it announced plans to make 30 curatorial posts redundant.

The museum is attempting to appeal to a younger audience. Its website features a section for under-18s which includes a Taylor Swift quiz, asking questions such as: “According to Billboard, what is the net worth of Taylor Swift’s cat, Olivia?” and, “If you were ordering fast food with Taylor Swift, what would her order be?” (the answers are $97 million and cheeseburger and fries with a chocolate shake).

There have been four advisers appointed so far for Lego, Pokémon cards, “gorpcore” and Toby jugs. Applications are open for advisers on Swift, Crocs, drag, emojis and tufting.

Making tufted rugs became an unlikely TikTok trend during lockdown.

“Gorpcore” is a term for wearing waterproof coats and hiking footwear to be fashionable, in what Teen Vogue termed a “camping-chic aesthetic”.

The V&A “gorpcore superfan adviser” is Hannah da Silva, who runs a website to showcase “women championing the outdoors”. She said: “To share my experience collecting gorpcore with the V&A curatorial team has been a great pleasure.”

Jessica Farrell, the museum’s Lego adviser, is a freelance Lego brick artist. Dean Leander, the Pokemon adviser, is a YouTuber and one of the UK’s leading collectors of Pokémon cards.

Bob Moores, an antiques dealer, was hired for his expertise on Toby jugs. He said: “I acquired my first Toby jug some 25 years ago and since then have developed an absolute passion for these quintessentially English jugs.

“Being allowed to work alongside the experts in this field at the V&A is a privilege and being paid to do so is an added bonus.”

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