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Glasgow School of Art chair Muriel Gray takes temporary leave

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Glasgow School of Art chair Muriel Gray is to temporarily step back from her role for family reasons

Announcing that vice-chair Nora Kearney would become interim chair, Gray said she was looking forward to returning ‘during the next academic year’.

Gray’s husband, managing director of television production company IWC Hamish Barbour, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in December 2017. Gray championed his recent charity walk from the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow to the top of Ben Nevis through her Twitter account.

She said in a statement this week: ‘I have advised the board of governors of the Glasgow School of Art that I will be taking a temporary period of absence both as chair of the board and as a lay governor for personal family reasons.

‘Given the challenges the school has faced over the past 12 months, this was an incredibly difficult decision to take.

‘The Glasgow School of Art is an amazing institution, full of remarkable, committed and creative people who continually give above and beyond, and I look forward to working with everyone again during the next academic year.’

Gray herself graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a BA in graphic design and illustration. A varied career has seen her play in rock group The Von Trapp Family and present Channel 4 show The Tube before writing horror novel Furnace

In recent months the school of art has come in for heavy criticism in relation to its stewardship of the Mackintosh Building, which was all but destroyed by fire last summer.

Local residents and businesses threatened legal action in the fire’s aftermath, and former employee Eileen Reid told MSPs the school should step aside from the rebuild and concentrate on teaching students. 

Scotland’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee last week said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the school’s response to a report it published earlier this year regarding the blaze, saying the GSA sought to undermine witness’s evidence. 

The school’s director Tom Inns resigned last year.

To donate towards Barbour’s fundraising efforts, click here.  

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