New director for Glasgow School of Art

By Lucy Ashton

The Glasgow School of Art board has appointed Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam as the school’s new director.

The professor will fill the role for one year before the GSA undertakes a full candidate search. Along with Professor Ken Neil she has been acting as joint interim director since 16 October.

art school boss McAra McMcWilliamsProfessor McAra-McWilliam, pictured right, joined the School of Art as head of School of Design in 2005.

In 2016 she was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list which recognised her work in higher education, innovation and design.  That same year she was appointed deputy director (innovation).  The professor also established the schools Highland Campus at Altyre and created The Innovation School as the GSA’s fifth academic school.

The school has faced its challenges over the past four years:

  • The 2014 blaze damaged the library in the building
  • In June 2018 another fire tore through the school

But the professor is confident that the school is moving forward from these setbacks.

“I’m honoured to have been appointed as director of The Glasgow School of Art,” she said. “Although we’ve recently had to deal with a very challenging period, I’m confident that we have the soul and spirit to move ahead, aware of just what a successful and innovative art school we are.

“Together, we can build on our long history of creativity and innovation as one of the world’s finest art schools. Together, we’ll focus on the future, re-engage with our diverse communities, and re-energise the GSA with the rebuild of the Mackintosh building and our proud history and heritage at its core”.

The board said it was confident that the GSA would continue to be a successful, independent and internationally highly esteemed art school under Prof McAra-McWilliam’s leadership.


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