Biographies >

Ms Muriel Gray BA (Hons) FRIAS - Chair
Muriel Gray is a graduate of GSA and worked as a professional illustrator before joining the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh as assistant head of design. A full time career spanning over two decades in the media followed, from presenting many diverse network radio and television programmes, to producing and directing, and then founding her own award winning production company which grew into the largest in Scotland.  She is also known as a political opinion writer in many publications and continues to contribute regularly to The Guardian. She has won several prizes for journalism including columnist of the year at the Scottish press awards.

She is the author of five books, three novels and two nonfiction, and many short stories and essays. Two of her books have been shortlisted for the prestigious British Fantasy Award. She was the chair of the judges for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction, and serves annually on both BAFTA and the Royal Television Society Awards juries.
Muriel is a former rector of Edinburgh University, still the only woman to have held this post, and has been awarded honorary degrees from the University of Abertay and The Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University. She has served as a trustee on the boards of Lomond Shores, Event Scotland, The Lighthouse, The Glasgow Science Centre, The National Maritime Museum, The Children's Parliament, and the GSA Development Trust. She is a working patron of Trees for Life, The Craighalbert Centre, and the Scottish Additional Needs Mediation Forum.

Sir Muir Russell KCB FRSE - Vice-Chair
Muir Russell was the first Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Executive following devolution and then Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow from 2003 to 2009, when he was Convener, Universities Scotland, member of the boards of UUK and UCAS and trustee of USS. He chaired the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland for 8 years until September 2016, and is currently chair of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Dunedin Concert Trust and a board member of the Moredun Research Institute. He is a member of the board of NHBC (the National House-Building Council) and chairs its Scottish Committee. He was a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 2012 to 2016. A graduate of the University of Glasgow in Natural Philosophy, Muir was created KCB in 2001 and FRSE in 2000 and given honorary degrees by the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Mr Charles Beattie
Charles is a qualified accountant having trained with KPMG before moving into the banking and financial services sector where he held both finance and non-finance roles. In addition Charles has held senior positions in the not for profit sector and was previously a member of the Audit & Risk Committee of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He is currently Chief Operating Officer at Maclay Murray & Spens and a Board member of Women’s Enterprise Scotland. He is Captain of Strathaven Golf Club and Chair of Strathaven Academy Parent Council.

Mr Douglas Brown BA (Hons) Dipl Arch (Oxford) FRIAS RIBA
Douglas Brown spent most of his professional career (from 1987) with international architect and  strategic design consultancy DEGW, best known for their research, programming and innovative design thinking in the fields of office planning and educational facilities. From 2001 to 2008 he was Group Managing Director of DEGW Plc having responsibility for leading growth and managing the performance of the firm’s worldwide operations from 14 offices in 9 countries across Europe, Asia and North America. He left the firm in 2009. From 1998 to 2001 Douglas was also a partner at Dutch Management Consultancy Twynstra Gudde Group. He is a past Board Member of the British Council of Offices. In 2010 Douglas and his wife founded the multi-award winning Humble Pie Bakery to which he provides management and development support. He is also principal of property company Glenalmond Estates Ltd.

Ms Laura Glennie, President, Students' Association

Professor Tom Inns 
Professor Inns was appointed Director of The Glasgow School of Art in September 2013. He was previously Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) and Director of Research for the College of Art Science & Engineering at the University of Dundee.

Tom studied Engineering at Bristol University and Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art. In 1990 he was a co-founder of the Design Research Centre at Brunel University, becoming Director in 1996. He completed his PhD in 1998 and moved to DJCAD as Professor of Design in 2000 becoming Head of the School of Design in 2001, where he established new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes linking curriculum in design and fine art with computing, engineering, medicine and the humanities.

In 2004 he was appointed as Director of the UK Research Council funded,Designing for the 21st Century Research Initiative. Over a five-year period he led this £6.5 million initiative co-ordinating the work of 41 research projects, linking design to disciplines in science and engineering in universities across the UK. In 2010 he was appointed Dean of DJCAD. He has a strong interest in the future of design and how design thinking can facilitate interdisciplinary discussions. He teaches strategic design at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews and regularly designs and facilitates knowledge sharing events and workshops with research organisations and innovation agencies across Europe.

Professor Nora Kearney RGN, MSc 
Nora Kearney has had an extensive career in healthcare both clinically and academically. She has recently demitted the roles of Head of School and Professor of Cancer Care in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Surrey and previous to this she was Professor of Cancer Care and Dean of Research in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Dundee and the Dundee Cancer Centre, where she led research in cancer care. In addition she led work with multiple public and corporate partners across Dundee to tackle inequalities in the city. Nora was previously the Director of the Cancer Care Research Centre (CCRC) that she established in 2003 at the University of Stirling, having developed the concept of the CCRC from her clinical experience of working closely with people affected by cancer.  Nora has a long clinical career in cancer nursing and previous academic positions at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. She has an international reputation as a leader in cancer care research, having led a number of national and international multi-centre research projects in the areas of patient experience and symptom improvement in cancer care. In particular she has pioneered the innovative use of technological solutions to provide supportive care to people with cancer.  She has published over 140 academic papers and secured over £14.5 million in research income and has contributed to policy development in health care in the UK and Europe. She is a Non-Executive Director for Central Surrey Health and a Visiting Professor at University College Dublin.

Ms Eleanor McAllister OBE MA MSc Hon FRIAS FRSA  
Eleanor McAllister is an economist and town planner, and has managed a number of urban regeneration projects throughout her career. She retired in March 2012 from her most recent post as managing director of Clydebank re-built, designated as one of the Scottish Government’s Pathfinder urban regeneration companies. She was made OBE for services to architecture and regeneration in 2007 and was awarded honorary fellowships with the Royal Society of the Arts (2008), the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (2009) and the Royal Incorporation of Chartered Surveyors (2012). She is a member of the Scottish Historic Environment Forum, Vice Chair of the Glasgow Film Theatre, Director of St Peter Kilmahew, and a Director of the Workshop and Artists Studio Provision (Scotland) Ltd.

Dr Susie Mitchell 
Dr Susie Mitchell has a passion for science and innovation - nurtured through a 20 year career spanning laboratory research, R&D and IP commercialisation, policy development and equality work. She was awarded a Ph.D. in cancer research from the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in 2000 for which she received the John Paul Award for Research Excellence. She has worked in a variety of settings within the public sector (including the NHS and national government) and the private sector (including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and a global sustainability consultancy). Susie is now Programme Director for Glasgow City of Science, based at Glasgow Science Centre. Glasgow City of Science is a pioneering initiative of 90 multi-sector organisations (from government, the Glasgow School of Art and Scottish Opera to global innovation businesses) that have pledged to work in partnership to leverage the City region’s science and innovation for sustainable economic growth. Outside work, Susie is a keen session singer and song-writer as well as a contributor and presenter for music and science factual output on BBC Scotland and the BBC World Service. Susie is also a Trustee of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation. With a passion for both the arts and science, Susie is interested in how combining science, engineering and technology with art, creativity and entrepreneurship can create innovation with impact.

Professor Ken Neil MA (Hons) MFA PhD PGCert FHEA FRSA
Ken Neil is Deputy Director (Academic) at The Glasgow School of Art. Ken studied painting and the history and philosophy of art at Edinburgh University as an undergraduate, before achieving an MFA in painting from Edinburgh College of Art in 1995. He completed a PhD in art theory in 2003 while teaching Humanities and History of Art at ECA and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. From 1999 he was lecturer in Contextual and Critical Studies at Gray's School of Art, taking on the Headship of Fine Art and Fine Art Critical Studies in 2002. In 2005 he led a new MFA in Critical Social Art Practice for Gray's before being appointed Head of Historical and Critical Studies at The Glasgow School of Art in 2006. Since joining GSA he has been a National Sector Lead for creative and cultural practice disciplines for the Scottish Enhancement Theme 'Research-Teaching Linkages' and has served on the AHRC Fellowships Review Panel. Ken has also served on the Editorial Board of the journal 'Art & Research' and the AHRC Peer Review College. From January 2014, he was appointed a Trustee of the UK Association of Art Historians, and chaired the Association’s Further and Higher Education Special Interest Group. Ken was awarded a Personal Professorship in Art and Design in July 2014, and was formally appointed as GSA’s Head of Research in August 2014. In August 2016 he was appointed GSA’s Deputy Director (Academic). Ken is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts. Ken has recently been appointed to the Board of Trustees of community arts organisation, Impact Arts. His research and writing relate to three fields: contemporary art and art theory; issues for creative education; and the visual culture of the everyday.

Ms Christa Reekie Mag.phil. Dip Ed LLB NP
Christa Reekie was a school teacher in Austria, before moving to Scotland and re-qualifying as a teacher. She joined the University of Edinburgh as a tutor teaching German before moving into the software industry (Adobe) as a translator and later a project leader, thus funding her accelerated law degree at Edinburgh University. She trained with Brodies in Edinburgh, became a commercial property lawyer and joined Burness in 1996, where she specialised in construction law before concentrating on PFI/PPP large infrastructure projects, becoming a partner in 2000. She was appointed as commercial director of the Scottish Futures Trust Limited in November 2009. Christa is involved in most of SFT’s activities, but in particular leads on SFT’s innovative affordable housing models.

Professor Johnny Rodger BA PhD FHEA PG Cert (L&T) PG Cert (Sup)
Johnny Rodger is a writer and critic, and Professor of Urban Literature at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art. He is editor of the The Drouth quarterly Literary/Arts journal,and his published books include literary fiction such as The Auricle (1995), g haun(s)Q (1996) and redundant (1998), and scholarly works as Contemporary Glasgow (Rutland Press, 1999), and Gillespie Kidd & Coia 1956-87 (RIAS, 2007), Tartan Pimps: Gordon Brown, Margaret Thatcher and the New Scotland (2010),and The Red Cockatoo: James Kelman and the Art of Commitment (2011). His latest book The Hero Building: An Architecture of Scottish National Identity was published in September 2015.

Mr Kenneth Ross OBE, DL
Ken Ross graduated in 1970 and qualified as a Surveyor in 1972.  He was President of the Scottish Housebuilders Association in 1987/1988 and was a founding Director when Homes for Scotland was formed.  He went on to become Chairman of the Scottish Property Federation during 2007.  In 2007, Ken was a member of the Sullivan Committee advising the Scottish Ministers on a low carbon strategy for Scotland and is now actively involved in sustainability and renewable projects throughout Scotland.  In 2008, he was invited to join the National Economic Forum.  In 2010, he was appointed to the Housing Policy Advisory Board, advising Scottish Ministers on housing matters in Scotland.  Ken is a Member of the Executive Committee of SCDI.  He is also actively involved in projects involving affordable housing, renewable energy, the arts, social and educational sectors in Scotland.

Dr. Sarah Smith, BA, MA, PhD, Elected academic staff representative
Sarah Smith has a BA in Fine Art Painting from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin (1994), an MA in Film Studies from University College (UCD), Dublin (1995) and a PhD in Artists’ Films from University of Glasgow (2007).  Between her MA and PhD and over the course of her PhD she undertook a range of part-time roles in various educational and cultural organisations in Dublin and Glasgow, such as Education Assistant at the Irish Film Institute (1995-97), Lecturer in Film Studies at UCD (1995-98), Adviser of Studies at University of Glasgow (2000-2002) and Researcher in Lifelong Learning The Lighthouse (1999-2001).

Sarah was appointed Lecturer in Historical and Critical Studies at GSA in 2002, taking up the role of Joint Acting Head of the Forum for Critical Inquiry from 2012 until 2015, at which point she became Joint Head of Department as well as Head of the newly forming Department of Art Context and Theory (ACT) within the School of Fine Art (SoFA).  She has been a leading figure in steering debates around the role of Critical and Contextual Studies in Art School Education in Scotland through her organisation of the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design (CHEAD) Regional Seminar on this topic, which was hosted by GSA in April 2015, and the Scottish CCS network that has emerged from it.

Her research interests are in the broad area of visual culture, with a particular grounding in the disciplines of art history and film studies and her specialist areas are in feminist art and artists’ films. In addition to working within peer-reviewed academic contexts her research is also disseminated through a variety of public platforms such as gallery and cinema talks, exhibition catalogue essays, magazine articles and reviews.  Sarah is a member of a number of professional organisations such as the British Association of Irish Studies (BAIS) and the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA).  She is currently the only European member of College Art Association’s (CAA) International Committee, where part of her role is to promote the diversification of CAA’s activities and membership.  She is also on the Advisory Board of the peer-reviewed journals: Screen Bodies and Visual Culture in Britain and is currently writing a book titled Cinema in the Gallery: The Movies in Artists’ Film and Video (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016).

Mr Andrew Sutherland BAcc CA MCICM
Andrew Sutherland is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. After completing his CA training with Grant Thornton, Andrew joined Keyline and then Slater Hogg and Howison where his roles included Company Secretary and Finance Director. After 15 years in industry, Andrew started his own business in October 2000. Trading as ACS Consultancy, Andrew has built a small group of regular clients including part-time and non-executive directorships, alongside long and short-term consultancy roles. He has previously been a non-executive director of a large Scottish charity and of a company delivering post-graduate education. His current roles include being a consultant to Page and Park Ltd and a director of Graven Images Ltd. 

Ms Lesley Thomson
Lesley Thomson is Managing Director of Spreng Thomson. She is an experienced communications professional working across the private, public and third sectors. Lesley is often commissioned to design and facilitate planning sessions for boards or executive teams seeking to develop business, communication or brand strategies. Her experience spans projects for the Scottish Government, banking and financial services, food and drink, government agencies, local authorities and academia as well as major private sector-led developments. Lesley is a Trustee of the Dewar Arts Awards and a member of Entrepreneurial Scotland. 

Professor Alison Yarrington BA (Hons), PhD, FRSE, FSA, FRSA
Alison Yarrington is Dean of the School of the Arts, English and Drama at Loughborough University, prior to which she was Professor of Art History and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Hull. Professor Yarrington, an expert in sculpture, took a foundation course at Chesterfield College of Art and Design before moving into higher education. She gained her undergraduate degree in fine art and history of art at the University of Reading before undertaking a doctorate at Darwin College, Cambridge University. Professor Yarrington was appointed to a lectureship in the history of art at the University of Leicester, promoted to a Personal Chair of Art History and then was elected Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts. She was appointed Richmond Chair and Head of the Department of Art History at the University of Glasgow in 2003, during which time she was also Honorary Keeper of Fine Art of the Hunterian Gallery and Museums. She was Chair of the Association of Art Historians 2011-14, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.