Penny Macbeth has joined The Glasgow School of Art as its new Director.
Penny was previously Dean of Manchester School of Art and Deputy Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities focusing on external engagement and partnerships.
Penny acted as academic lead for Manchester Metropolitan University's ground breaking School of Digital Arts: SODA, which is due to open in 2021. SODA was awarded £14.9 million of funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the project represents a combined investment of £35 million from Manchester Met and GMCA.
At Manchester School of Art, Penny was committed to developing a professionally relevant learning environment for students. The School pioneered an award-winning offer that fostered an interdisciplinary approach to learning alongside the development of specialist in-depth knowledge of subject. This approach was adopted within the SODA curriculum which, combined the creative, tech and business attributes needed for the creative and digital economy of the future.
Whilst in Manchester, Penny sat on two citywide bodies: Culture Corridor Group and the St Johns network, she was also academic board nominee on Manchester Metropolitan's Board of Governors. Penny continues as board trustee of Castlefield Gallery and as board trustee of CHEAD. On behalf of CHEAD she represents the sector on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Crafts.
Penny is an active researcher, her work explores cloth's potential as a carrier of narrative and catalyst for community empathy and cohesion; research is drawn from artists, practitioners and archival sources. In March 2018 she co-convened the International Conference Textile and Place with colleagues from Manchester School of Art and The Whitworth Art Gallery: presenting a paper entitled 'A Matter of Life and Death' exploring what we might understand by socially engaged or socially enacted textiles. This paper has subsequently been published in a special edition of Textile: The journal of cloth and culture and a companion piece 'Transcendental Beings: Clothing the Soul' was commissioned by the Whitworth Art Gallery, for the exhibition catalogue to accompany the exhibition Ancient Textiles of the Andes.