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Royal College of Art Welcomes New Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities

The Royal College of Art (RCA) announced today that Professor Ken Neil, currently Deputy Director (Academic) at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), has been appointed as the new Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities. He will take up the position early in the new year.

Professor Ken Neil has held senior academic posts at The Glasgow School of Art since 2006 and has been Deputy Director (Academic) since 2016. During his tenure he contributed to all aspects of GSA’s academic landscape including learning and teaching, research and academic leadership, developing its international reputation and attracting new research income. This has firmly embedded the GSA as one of the world's top ten leading higher education institutes for the visual creative disciplines. 

Naren Barfield, RCA Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost said:

'I am thrilled that Professor Ken Neil has been appointed RCA Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities. As the RCA enters an exciting new phase in its history, with new academic developments, partnerships and research, and a new campus opening in 2021, Ken brings with him energy, commitment and leadership that will help lead the College into a new era. With his impressive track record at the Glasgow School of Art he brings a wealth of experience to the role. His academic achievements coupled with his passion for working closely with students will help us nurture the world's most creative and talented individuals across the fine and applied arts, humanities, and the wider creative disciplines.' 

Professor Ken Neil added:

‘I am delighted to be joining the RCA as it continues its innovation in new programmes and research excellence across applied and fine arts and humanities, providing insights into the grand challenges of now and of the future. The RCA is justifiably the world-leading centre for education and research in art, design and architecture, and I look forward very much to making a contribution to the next phase of its development.'

Professor Neil has written about contemporary art and theory within the context of education and institutionalisation for a wide range of publications and journals and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Visual Art Practice.

With a distinguished background in academic excellence, Professor Ken Neil has over two decades of teaching experience following his own studies in 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.

ENDS

For further information or images please contact Bethany Bull, RCA Press Office t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e: b[email protected]  / [email protected]a.ac.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

About the RCA

The Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design institution, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate college based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world.

The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

The College employs around 1000 professionals from around the world – professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes.

RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. Working across scientific and technical canvases and beyond set boundaries, RCA students seek to solve real-world problems.

The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 50 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 600 UK jobs.

The RCA recently launched GenerationRCA which will propel the College's radical new academic vision by focusing on three key pillars: ‘Place, Projects and People’. This programme will see the RCA transform its campuses and the ways in which the university teaches, researches and creates. It includes the construction of the Herzog & de Meuron-design flagship building in Battersea and introduction of future programmes centres on nano and soft robotics, computer science and machine learning, materials science and the circular economy. 

Alumni include David Adjaye, Christopher Bailey, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Lubaina Himid, Clare Waight Keller and Rose Wylie.

About Professor Ken Neil 

Professor Ken Neil MA (Hons) MFA, PhD, PGCert, FHEA, FRSA  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 for Art History, 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, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Visual Art Practice. Ken is also Vice-Chair of 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.