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The Board

The Creative Scotland Board is accountable to, and appointed by, the Scottish Government. The Board provides leadership, direction, support and guidance to Creative Scotland as a whole.

Visit the Resources section to view and download board papers as well as related documents such as the Board Code of Conduct and Register of Interests.

Ben Thomson (Interim Chair)

Ben's main career for the last 33 years has been in the financial services sector including 13 years as chief executive and subsequently chairman of Noble Group, the Scottish Investment Bank. He has played an active role in public life and recently retired after 8 years as Chairman of the Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland. He also advised Scottish Government in the Banking Crisis and wrote the Thomson Review for Scottish Government on Access to Supreme Courts of Scotland. He was Chairman and founder of the think tank Reform Scotland and on the boards of the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Financial Industry Sector Advisory Board. Ben has been Chairman of six organisations and the Senior Independent director on another two so brings a wealth of board experience to Creative Scotland.

Iain Aitchison

Iain Aitchison brings to the board extensive international experience of the creative industries through his work at the forefront of design consulting, education and research. For over a decade he has consulted to multi-national companies around the world, helping to lead innovative strategic planning initiatives in over 15 countries and integrate design capabilities at the heart of complex organisations. Previously Director at London-based strategic design consultancy Plan, Iain has recently joined the Glasgow School of Art as Programme Director at the Institute of Design Innovation where he is helping to collaboratively lead the development of a world-class research and teaching culture and foster local and global strategic partnerships. Alongside this new role, he continues to develop executive education programs for global companies, and is exploring the future of design education for a part-time PhD. Iain has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art since 2006, is a board member of the Design Management Institute, USA and is external examiner for the MA Industrial Design programme at Central Saint Martins, London. He chairs, writes and speaks at conferences internationally on the subjects of design management and education and has lectured at Universities across Europe.

David Brew

David was a senior civil servant until he retired from the Scottish Government in 2011. From 2004-2006 he advised Scottish Ministers on cultural, language and broadcasting policy and sponsored the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen. He was appointed by Ofcom to the board of MG ALBA (the Gaelic media service) in May 2012 and chairs its audit committee. A former chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, David is a member of the Financial Reporting Council’s Disciplinary Case Management Committee and an adjudicating panel member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. His interests include languages, music and film.

Karen Forbes

Karen Forbes is an artist working across art and architecture whose work involves examining the creative possibilities which arise from this dialogue. She has a serious and long term engagement with the development of the creative arts in Scotland and is enthusiastic about exploring innovative ways of combining visual knowledge and mechanisms for artists to have the possibility to present new work. She brings an international perspective gained through her work in Japan, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA. Karen has worked from micro to macro – from individual drawings and small scale artists intervention in cities, to working on a range of site specific initiatives and projects including 'Fold-Out Futures' in Chicago and Melbourne and the Temples Project in Kyoto. She is currently contributing to the design process for a new city quarter in Amsterdam as part of Luma 3D Interactive. Karen has strong connections to education having Iectured internationally and authored several books, most recently 'Site Specific’, as well as being Professor of Art at the University of Edinburgh.

Erin Forster

Erin is an experienced risk and financial professional with seven years of internal audit experience within a large retail bank. She is currently employed by the Financial Conduct Authority, supporting the delivery of their conduct agenda of regulation. Erin graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada, where she studied graphic design. Prior to moving to Scotland in 2002, she started her working life as a website designer. Erin enjoys creating visual art in her spare time and attending cultural events.

Professor Maggie Kinloch

Maggie is Professor Emerita of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland having served as Deputy Principal until August 2016. In a career that has spanned over 40 years, she has worked at a senior level, nationally and internationally, as a theatre director and teacher. She is currently a freelance theatre director and international arts education consultant. Maggie has a deep practical experience of, and commitment to, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts and Arts Education. She is an experienced strategic thinker and currently serves as Chair of the Scottish Drama Training Network and as a director of the Scottish Funding Council and the European League of Institutes of the Arts. She was a founding director of the Board of the National Theatre of Scotland, is a former Chair of Glasgay and has wide experience on a range of other boards.

Sheila Murray

Sheila’s experience in the arts spans a career with the British Council as a manager of international cultural relations. In London, Spain, Israel and Scotland she developed country-wide strategies and programmes across all art forms, and the creative industries, by working with artists, arts organisations, major festivals and Ministries of Culture. She was awarded the Spanish Civil Order of Merit for Women for British Painting from Hogarth to Turner at Madrid’s Prado Museum and managed inaugural tours to Israel of The Royal Ballet and National Theatre.

As the British Council’s International Arts Manger for Scotland, Sheila was responsible for Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Showcase of Scottish music, and for Scotland’s first show at the Venice Biennale of Art in partnership with the Scottish Arts Council. She was a board member of the Traverse Theatre, Fruitmarket Gallery and NVA Europe. She now works freelance in the arts and curated two annual exhibitions for Edinburgh’s Macmillan Cancer Support.

Sheila was recently invited on to the selection panel of the Inches Carr Trust, which awards grants to outstanding craftspeople in Scotland. She enjoys making jewellery, which she studied at Kelvin College, Glasgow, and has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Reading University and an MA in Arts, Festivals and Cultural Policy from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Cate Nelson-Shaw

Cate brings to the board a passion, enthusiasm and overview across a breadth of cultural and art forms as well as practical insights from her marketing career, working with colleagues in the nation’s creative industry.  She graduated from The University of Edinburgh with an MA in English Literature & English Language before beginning her career as a graduate for an international plc.

Since then Cate has created and delivered both strategic marketing and marketing communications solutions, from both a client and an agency perspective and Cate is now Marketing Director for Investors in People Scotland. She is regularly invited to speak at events and is often commissioned to write features for national and local media.

Her current non-executive portfolio also includes: Influencing Others board committee member for Changing the Chemistry and Business Mentor for Edinburgh Research & Innovation; and for 6 years Cate was a non-executive director of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

Cate is a dancer - mainly ballet, a dedicated lifelong interest – and hugely enjoys engaging with and participating in Scotland’s vibrant cultural industries, including with her young family.

Barclay Price

Barclay’s career has spanned employment in a bank; setting up and performing in a community-based theatre company; supporting the creation of small businesses; developing cultural policy; and engaging business with the arts. He worked in London for over 25 years and returned to Scotland to be Depute Director of the Scottish Arts Council and then Chief Executive of Arts & Business Scotland, an organisation that works to encourage business engagement with, and support for, the cultural sector. In 2013 he retired from full-time employment but continues to work in a freelance capacity.

Karthik Subramanya

Karthik Subramanya is currently Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, a global strategy and management consulting firm, where he advises senior executives within Utilities across Europe and the Middle East on strategic issues. Till 2015, Karthik was Director of Strategy and Performance at SSE, and prior to that held senior management positions in Strategy, Corporate banking and Private equity in the Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group. Karthik has been one of the key shapers of Indian arts and culture in Scotland as the President of the annual Dusherra Festival on Calton Hill, the largest independent minority arts festival in Scotland between 2010 and 2016. He has given a platform to a number of established and upcoming artists and nurtured Indian arts all across Scotland. He is an active promoter of diversity of thought within organisations and is a trustee of Changing the Chemistry, Scotland's leading corporate diversity body. Karthik is a qualified Electrical Engineer and has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Ruth Wishart

Ruth Wishart is one of Scotland's leading journalists who has written for The Herald, The Scotsman, and The Guardian in addition to holding senior editorial positions in a number of Scottish titles. She has been a presenter of a range of series on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4. Currently she chairs the Dewar Arts Awards and has formerly served as chair of the CCA in Glasgow, and Glasgow Common Purpose. She is a former trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland and governor of The Glasgow School of Art.

Richard Findlay CBE

Richard Findlay CBE was Creative Scotland’s Chair from January 2015 to July 2017. He died at home in Edinburgh on 8 July after a short illness.

Read our tribute to Richard.