The Board of Governors

Our Board provides leadership, strategic direction and scrutiny to enable us to achieve our purpose of creating and supporting extraordinary graduates, practitioners and work across the creative and performing arts.

The Board is made up of 22 members, 16 of whom are lay members, and 6 drawn from the University.

As well contributing a broad range of skills and experience, our Board members bring challenge and insight, making sure we meet our long-term academic and business plans and key performance indicators. 

Details of the Board's work are set out in the Statement of Primary Responsibilities.

Board members

  • Robert Taylor (Chair)

    Independent Member

    Rob Taylor is Head of Investment Management Department at the Financial Conduct Authority. He’s a former Chief Executive of Kleinwort Benson Bank, the London based merchant and private client banking group.

    Currently, Rob is an investor and director of companies involved in virtual data storage, online therapies, and multi-media publishing and digital gaming technology. He also led a group of analysts in 2011 seeking to buy into financial services companies. He’s an occasional blogger on corporate governance related issues for the Guardian online.

    Rob has worked for American, French, German and British financial services companies for more than 20 years. He’s worked in the United States, Germany and Britain and has had responsibility for product distribution throughout Europe and the Middle East. He’s also sat on the boards as both executive and non-executive director of financial services related businesses in London and Dubai.

    Rob’s held senior management positions as an executive committee member for more than 13 years of his career. His management career has centred on the development and execution of business, marketing and brand strategies in private banking and asset management businesses.

    As Chief Executive Officer of Kleinwort Benson, Rob re-launched the Kleinwort Benson brand as a UK private bank, restructuring it to boost income and improve the service proposition. Overall revenues soared by about 30% and costs remained steady. Following the credit crunch and subsequent recession, Rob led a further restructuring of the bank and also worked with the board of the bank and the regulators to ensure Kleinwort Benson met its liquidity and capital stress testing reviews.

    In 2009, the then shareholder announced the bank’s sale and Rob led the business through the process and change-of-control. Rob’s management team, backed by private equity, was one of the bidding groups for Kleinwort Benson. Prior to the new shareholder taking control of the business, he secured a Moodys credit rating for the standalone bank.

    Rob began his career working in American politics and as a financial journalist in New York. He delivers talks at financial services conferences and is an outspoken supporter of LGBT career opportunities in the City.

  • Patricia Ambrose

    Co-opted Member

    Patricia Ambrose is Deputy Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, an independent research and membership organisation.

    She has spent most of her career in higher education policy development, including seven years as Chief Executive of GuildHE, the representative organisation for specialist and smaller higher education institutions. From 2007-2011, Patricia was an Associate Director at SQW Consulting, leading much of their higher education research and evaluation work. In this role, she directed a diverse range of projects covering topics such as graduate employability, teaching and learning enhancement, widening participation, language learning, internationalisation, governance and sustainable development.

    Patricia is committed to the role of specialist arts universities within UK higher education. While at GuildHE, she helped to establish the UK Arts and Design Institutions Association (UKADIA). More recently, she has served as a governor at Norwich University of the Arts (2006-2015) and is also currently chair of governors at an Islington primary school.

    Patricia holds degrees from the Universities of Reading, Manchester and London and a PGCE from UEA. She is an alumna of the Top Management Programme for Higher Education and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

  • Patrick Bradley

    Independent Member

    Patrick is CEO of Ingenious Ventures, a venture capital fund which invests in the creative and media sector.

    Prior to joining Ingenious in 2001, Patrick qualified as a lawyer in the City of London, following which he worked in the music, film and television industries.

    Patrick serves or has served as a non-executive director on the boards of companies Ingenious has invested in, including TV production, TV distribution, computer games development, live events, music publishing and marketing services. He also co-produced on behalf of Ingenious 'Jus' Like That' a tribute play about the life of Tommy Cooper, directed by Simon Callow.

    In addition to being a Governor of UCA, Patrick is also a director of the national film charity, Film Nation (UK) and a director of the National Army Museum, Chelsea.  He holds degrees from King's College, London and Worcester College, Oxford University.

  • Professor Marie Conte-Helm OBE

    Independent Member

    Professor Marie Conte-Helm has been the Executive Director of the UK-Japan-21st Century Group since November 2011.

    From 2000 to 2011 she served as Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the largest UK charity supporting links between the two countries. Prior to that, she was Reader in Japanese Studies and Director, East Asian Developments at Northumbria University, Newcastle (1994-99), where she continues to hold a Visiting Professorship. She has also been Reader in Japanese Studies and Head of the Japanese Studies Division at the University of Sunderland where she worked closely with Japanese companies investing in the North East of England and played an active role in support of educational and cultural exchange.

    Professor Conte-Helm's research has centred on the economic and cultural relationship between Japan and Britain and she has published widely in the field, including Japan and the North East of England: From 1862 to the Present Day and The Japanese and Europe: Economic and Cultural Encounters.

    She is currently a Director of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, and a member of the White Rose East Asia Centre (Universities of Sheffield and Leeds) International Advisory Board, and the British Association for Japanese Studies. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

    In 2009 Professor Conte-Helm was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister's Commendation 'for outstanding contribution to relations between Japan and the UK'.

    She was awarded an OBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to UK-Japan educational and cultural relations.

  • Mark Eastwood

    Independent Member

    Mark has over ten years of audit and senior management experience working for global organisations across various industries, including banking, travel, pensions and technology.

    Educated in South Africa, Mark got his first job in banking before returning to London where he joined American Express working in the Finance department. Having gained experience managing teams within a shared services environment, Mark joined the Internal Audit department. He was responsible for audits throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East especially within emerging markets in the region. While at American Express, Mark migrated finance activities from Europe and led re-engineering initiatives to enhance processes. In order to grow and widen his experience, Mark took the opportunity to join Friends Provident as Deputy Head of Internal Audit where he was responsible for building and developing a new internal audit function. Having gained enhanced leadership and strategic management skills, Mark joined Premier Foods where he managed the internal audit department, building the reputation of the function across head office and factory sites throughout the UK.

    In need of a new challenge and an opportunity to build and develop a new internal audit team, Mark joined Rackspace in June 2011 where he is Director of Internal Audit, responsible for the international markets across Europe, Middle East, Far East including Australia and South America. Mark has gained valuable experience working for a start-up and in an entrepreneurial and highly fast paced environment.

    In addition, Mark is the Managing Director and Chair of the Board of Directors for Unity Arts Trust, a Chichester based provider of studios and mentoring to local artists and craft-makers. Also, Mark is an independent Governor at Harrow College and is the Chair of the Audit Committee.

  • Jim Gollan

    Independent Member

    Jim Gollan is a strategy, finance and risk specialist now undertaking non-executive roles after a career in financial services and management consultancy in the UK, Europe and Asia.

    His current non-executive positions are with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he chairs the Board of its EMEA bank and the Board Risk Committee of its EMEA broker-dealer, and with Euronext, the pan European financial exchange operator, where he serves on the Group’s Supervisory Board and chairs its UK subsidiary. He is also a Trustee of the Brain Research Trust, which supports research into the diagnosis and cure of brain disease and injury. Past non-executive roles have been with a NHS acute hospital trust, a provident society, an internet broker and the Open University.

    In his 30 year executive career, Jim worked in management positions with KPMG Consulting, Standard Chartered, Lloyds Bank Group, SIX Group, Gartmore and Coopers & Lybrand. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and a graduate of Bristol University.

    He is a practising amateur photographer.

  • Colin Holden

    Academic Board Nominee

    Colin is Head of the School of Crafts & Design at UCA. He graduated in architecture from Edinburgh University and has practiced as an architect in Berlin, Kuala Lumpur and London. He worked in the Sterling Prize winning studio of Stanton Williams on projects for Issey Miyake, Whitby Abbey, The National Gallery and The National Theatre before co-founding the studio arclab in 2000.

    Prior to joining UCA in 2015 Colin was an Associate Professor and Associate Head of the Design School at Kingston University. He led on several strategic initiatives including the transformation of the study abroad programme, the establishment / management of home and international collaborative partnerships and the introduction of a new postgraduate curriculum framework. He was also Director of the innovative MA Design: Product+Space.

    Colin’s research interests include the relationship between everyday objects and spaces, notions of home in the post war residential development of the Dulwich Estate by Wates Build and Austin Vernon Architects and more recently the narrative potential of isolated Parthenon sculpture fragments. He is the chief external examiner at AKTO in Athens and Thessaloniki, external examiner for the MA Interior Architecture at Middlesex University and a member of the Farnham Craft Town steering group. Colin has a broad collaborative outlook that directly informs his approach to working in the academic environment.  

  • Professor Bashir Makhoul


    Professor Bashir Makhoul recently joined UCA from Birmingham City University, where he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor with strategic leadership for academic development, student recruitment, marketing and internationalisation.

    Previously, he was based at Southampton University as the Head of School for the Winchester School of Art.

    His appointment marks the first time a Palestinian academic has been appointed to the top position at a British University and it is believed to be only the second time an academic from a non-Western background has been made Vice-Chancellor in the UK.

    In an academic career spanning 22 years, Professor Makhoul has specialised in creating overseas partnerships and has spearheaded the creation of two Chinese campuses: the Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Arts in Wuhan, and Southampton’s first overseas campus in Dalian, China. He speaks rudimentary Chinese and is fluent in English, Hebrew and Arabic.

    Professor Makhoul is a prolific writer, editor and artist. He maintains a studio in Beijing and has exhibited at a range of high-profile venues and events including the Hayward Gallery, Tate Liverpool, 2013 Venice Biennale and the Aichi Biennale in Japan. Currently his work is on show in Australia, Liverpool and Beirut, with a large exhibition in Mexico planned for next year.

    He is a published author who has written several books about Palestinian art and themes of conflict and identity, including the ‘The Origins of Palestinian Art’ and ‘Conflict and Compassion.’

  • Professor Lesley Millar MBE

    Co-opted Staff Member

    Lesley Millar is Professor of Textile Culture and Director of the International Textile Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts. She is an exhibition curator specialising in textiles and has been project director for eight major international touring exhibitions:

    • 'Revelation' (1996-98)
    • 'Textural Space' (2001)
    • 'Through the Surface' (2003-05)
    • '21:21 - the textile vision of Reiko Sudo and NUNO' (2005-7)
    • 'Cloth & Culture NOW' (2008)
    • 'Cultex: textiles as a cross-cultural language' (2009-11)
    • 'Lost in Lace' (2011-12.)
    • 'Cloth & Memory {2}' (2013)
    • 'Kawaii crafting the Japanese culture of cute' (2015-16).

    From 2012-14 she led the EU project 'Transparent Boundaries' with partner organisations in Denmark, Greece and Italy.

    In 2008 she received the Japan Society Award for significant contribution to Anglo-Japanese relationships and in 2011 was appointed MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to Higher Education.

    Lesley joined the Board of Governors on 1 August 2014.

  • Alan Newton

    Independent Member

    Alan Newton is a Consultant with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP having retired as a partner in April 2015.  He is a leading specialist in capital markets, structured finance, bank restructuring and financial regulatory work. He occupied a number of senior leadership positions in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, serving at various times as an elected member of its principal supervisory and strategic body, the Partnership Council, the Global Head of its Finance Practice, the Managing Partner of the London Finance Department and the Head of its Structured Finance Practice. Based in London for most of his career, he also worked in Italy and New York for a number of years.

    He was a member of the City of London Solicitors Company Financial Law Committee between 2008 and 2015. He is a member of the editorial board of the Capital Markets Law Journal and a member of the executive committee of the Oxford University sponsored Secured Transactions Law Reform Project

    He was educated at Exeter College Oxford.

  • John Oliver

    Independent Member

    John Oliver is the former Finance Director of the global architecture, urbanism and design practice, Broadway Malyan. He was responsible for all aspects of financial management and strategy in the UK practice and the firm's eleven overseas subsidiaries.

    John is a Chartered Accountant who worked in practice with Deloitte in the UK and the US, gaining a wide experience of auditing, investigation and corporate finance work with public and private groups, specialising in financial institutions. He was previously Finance Director of the actuarial practice Bacon & Woodrow becoming European CFO of the US public company Hewitt after the firms' merger in 2002. He became Finance Director of the surveying firm Donaldsons LLP in 2005 until its acquisition by DTZ in 2007.

    John was educated at Kings College School, Wimbledon and St John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Economics.

  • Victoria Pomery OBE

    Co-opted Member

    Victoria Pomery was appointed Director of Turner Contemporary in 2002 to develop an arts organisation in Margate, Kent, as part of a strategy of cultural led regeneration. Working with a small team and with funding from Kent County Council and Arts Council England, Victoria developed a programme of audience development work which included exhibitions, commissions and events. In summer 2006 she was part of the selection panel which appointed David Chipperfield Architects to design a gallery building with a budget of £17.4m. Victoria worked closely with David and his team on the design development. After significant fund raising, the gallery went on site in 2009 and opened to huge critical acclaim in April 2011.

    Since opening, the gallery has welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors including HM The Queen and the Prime Minister and now employs 50 FTEs. The gallery runs an ambitious programme of temporary exhibitions of historical and contemporary art, an exemplary Learning Programme and a dynamic Public Programme. The gallery also operates a café, shop and venue hire business. Turner Contemporary is an active member of the Plus Tate network enabling key loans to be made from Tate Collection including works by JMW Turner.

    In 2012, Victoria was awarded an OBE for services to the arts. In 2013 she was made a Kent Ambassador, received an Honorary Masters Degree from the University for the Creative Arts and judged the BP Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery.

    Victoria is Chair of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (South East) and is a board member of the Area Council for Arts Council England South East.

  • Chris Rachlin

    Co-opted Member

    Chris Rachlin has held senior executive positions in risk and finance at a number of major financial institutions as well as non-executive positions in two major suppliers to the financial services industry.

    Chris trained as a chartered accountant and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers for ten years working on banking and public sector assignments in London, India, Australia and the rest of Europe.

    Over the last 19 years Chris has focused his career on Operational Risk and has held Group and Country level Operational Risk Head roles at HSBC, Barclays, Mizuho International and RBS. Most recently, while at HSBC, Chris led their programme to improve risk management oversight of their third party suppliers. Additionally, he has a strong interest in and led programmes at HSBC and other banks to improve corporate governance. He has spoken at a wide range of conferences on the topics of risk and governance.

    Chris spent almost five years as a non-executive member of the Audit Committee of iPSL , the market leader in cheque processing across the UK, and was previously a non-executive director of Vaultex UK Ltd, one of the UK’s leading cash processors.

    He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and a graduate of the University of Southampton.

  • Andrew Ramsay

    Independent Member

    Andrew is a chartered engineer and a chartered secretary. After reading mechanical sciences at Cambridge, his career in engineering began in the electrical sector, but he subsequently worked in construction, becoming a founder director for the Construction Industry Council.

    He retired as CEO of the Engineering Council, the national registration authority for professional engineers, in 2010. He continues to serve on a number of engineering committees, and undertakes some consultancy work.

    He was a Board Member for QAA for 6 years and is currently a member of their Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers. In recent years he has been deeply involved in relationships between higher education and the professions.

    Andrew has extensive experience in charity and trust management, and is currently a trustee of the educational charity Mathematics for Education and Industry, and is a pension fund trustee.

  • Harry Rich

    Independent Member

    Harry Rich is a business and not-for-profit leader, executive coach and advisor with particular experience in strategy, innovation and governance. He is a board member and chair of the Audit & Risk Committee of the Press Recognition Panel (PRP), trustee of the Harbour Foundation, mentor for the Fluid Diversity Mentoring programme and a non-practising solicitor.

    Harry was previously Chief Executive of the Royal Institute of British Architects and of Enterprise UK. He has been Deputy Chief Executive of the Design Council, member of the government’s Creative Industries Council, International Board member of the Design Management Institute (USA), non-Executive Director of the Advertising Standards Authority and external member of the Press Complaints Commission’s Charter Compliance Panel.

  • Freda Sack

    Co-opted Member

    Freda Sack has a passion for letterforms and likes 'making things happen' especially in the typographic world. She originally studied typography at Maidstone College of Art, School of Printing.

    An increasing interest in the letters that carry the information lead to her career as a type designer. After working for various font manufacturers, and being involved with the rapidly changing font technology, she co-founded The Foundry in 1990 with David Quay to develop their own exclusive typefaces.

    Since 2000 she has run her own company Foundry Types Ltd, managing The Foundry library, and working to commission. She is co-designer of The Foundry™ typeface library.

    Commissioned typefaces, amongst others, include: WWF, NatWest Bank, Cossette, Yellow Pages (awarded a D&AD Silver), Swiss Airlines, Brunel signage for UK mainline railway stations, Lisbon Metro fonts. Freda is a design education advisor, lectures internationally, and is currently senior Board Director of ISTD [International Society of Typographic Designers], and most recently President.

  • Colin Tweedy OBE

    Independent Member

    Colin Tweedy OBE has been Chief Executive of Arts & Business (formerly the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts, ABSA) since 1983. He is Chairman of CEREC (Comite Europeen pour le Rapprochement de l'Economie et de la Culture).

    He is a Director of the Headlong Theatre (formerly the Oxford Stage Company) and the Mariinsky Theatre Trust. He established The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation as an initiative of Arts & Business and is a trustee.

    In June 2000 Colin received an OBE for services to business partnerships with the arts in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He became a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2003.

  • Pauline Waterhouse OBE

    Independent Member

    Pauline Waterhouse is the former Principal and Chief Executive of Blackpool and The Fylde College, a National Beacon of Excellence, and one of the UK's largest colleges of further and higher education.

    Pauline is driven by a passionate belief in the power of education to transform the life chances and economic prospects of individuals and their families. She has led and engaged in many initiatives to widen participation and to raise standards of education and training. These included strong involvement with the government's National Challenge initiative, and the subsequent academy programme, both as a Trustee and a Chair of Governors.

    Pauline led the initiative to develop a University Centre in one of the country's most deprived communities in the North West - including raising capital funding and working as design champion for the project. The establishment of the University Centre led to significant growth in student numbers and it is now a thriving provider of higher education in a college setting.

    Pauline is a trustee of EMLC, an educational charity involved in leadership development and school improvement services and she is a director of EMLC's Multi-Academy Trust. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

    Pauline was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2010 for services to education.

  • Simone Ziel

    Student Governor

    Simone is a student governor elected by the student body. She is a third year Film Production student and Farnham BAME Liberation Group leader.


Four committees bring together Board members, staff and independent members with specific expertise to focus on key aspects of our business.