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Glasgow School of Art announces new director following shock resignation

Professor irene mcara mcwilliam who has been appointed director of the glasgow school of art credit paul campbell
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The Glasgow School of Art has appointed Irene McAra-McWilliam as its new director following Tom Inns’ sudden resignation earlier this month

McAra-McWilliam, who is currently head of the School of Design, has been acting as joint interim director with Ken Neil since Inns’ departure at the start of November. She will take up the role initially for one year.

In a statement, McAra-McWilliam said she was ’honoured’ by the appointment, adding: ‘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.’ 

Her predecessor Inns quit his post on November 2 amid an ongoing Scottish parliamentary inquiry exploring whether ‘poor decision-making or flawed processes’ contributed to the fire that destroyed the school’s landmark Mackintosh building.

Following his resignation, Inns submitted evidence to the Holyrood committee in which he called for the rebuilding of the college to be overseen by an independent trust.

Earlier this month, McAra-McWilliam appeared in front of MSPs alongside GSA chair Muriel Gray and senior project manager Liz Davidson to defend the college’s stewardship of the building. 

In a statement today, Gray wished McAra-McWilliam success in her new role and said she was confident that the college will ’continue to be a successful, independent and internationally highly esteemed art school under her leadership’.

McAra-McWilliam joined the GSA in 2005 as head of School of Design and was appointed deputy director in 2016.

During her time at the Glasgow School of Art she has established its Highland Campus at Altyre and the college’s Innovation School. She was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours for services to Higher Education, Innovation and Design.

She added: ‘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.’

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