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 19 members, of which 13 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. 

Further details regarding the Board's work are available in the ‘Legal framework’ and ‘How the Institution is organised’ sections of the University’s Freedom of Information publication scheme.

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.

  • Lesley Adams

    Co-opted Staff Member

    Lesley Adams leads the BA (Hons) Animation and MA Animation courses at UCA Farnham and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

    Lesley has a first-class (Hons) Graphic Design degree and worked commercially within the industry as a designer and animator before graduating with her MA Animation degree from the Royal College of Art in 1991.

  • 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.

  • Dr Emma Buckby

    Independent Member

    Emma Buckby has over ten years of international business development experience in the not-for-profit and education sectors, most recently at International House London where she was Director of Marketing and International from 2014 to 2018.  Working across a range of businesses in the international sector, and with a number of universities and other education providers, she has principally been involved in increasing engagement with internationalisation strategies and opening up new business opportunities.

    Emma holds a BA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies and Japanese Studies from the University of Stirling and a PhD in Caribbean Literature from the University of the West Indies, together with professional qualifications in teaching English as a foreign language and marketing. She is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, and speaks Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Italian, French and Creole.

    Emma is a member of the Employment & Finance and Remuneration Committees.

  • 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.

  • Professor Colin Holden

    Academic Board Nominee

    Colin is Head of the Schools of Architecture and Crafts & Design at UCA. He graduated in architecture from Edinburgh University and has practised as an architect in Berlin, Kuala Lumpur and London. He worked in the Stirling 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.  

  • Amy Kemp-Jones

    Student Member

    Amy is a student governor elected by the student body.

  • Johnny Luk

    Independent Member

    Johnny Luk is a political commentator, entrepreneur and thought leader with a passion for enterprise education and new thinking that helps society. He is currently Head of Policy and Strategy at the global recruitment agency Adecco, having previously held a number of civil service roles: including as Senior Policy Advisor in the Market Access and Budget team at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Head of Policy and Projects at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and Deputy Head of Strategic Operations for Entrepreneurship in UK Trade & Investment. From 2014-2016 Johnny was Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of University Entrepreneurs, where he increased the number of student enterprise groups across England to 260 and briefed No.10 on macro level enterprise policy in FE and HE, winning the Global Entrepreneurship High Impact Award two years running.

    He has been a TEDx speaker, a former judge for Microsoft Ventures and also blogs for the Huffington Post. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, and was the 2016 Welsh Indoor Rowing Silver Medallist.

    Johnny studied at Durham University and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin.

    He is a member of Nominations Committee.

  • Professor Bashir Makhoul


    Professor Bashir Makhoul 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.’

  • 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.

  • Chris Rachlin

    Independent 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.

  • Sarah Reardon

    Independent Member

    Sarah Reardon is the Director of Media and Corporate Affairs at Nesta, a global innovation foundation that focuses on challenges such as how teaching human skills like creativity, collaboration and problem-solving can prepare young people for future work in a more automated economy, and how a strong creative economy can be protected and grown. During her 15 years’ experience developing and leading integrated communications for organisations to grow, manage and protect their brand and reputation, she has delivered creative, high impact campaigns that bring together disciplines across the communications mix, including events, digital, PR, corporate affairs, marketing and brand.

    Sarah is a Trustee of TutorMate, a charity which links primary school readers who require support with trained corporate volunteers. She holds a BA (Hons) in Media and Public Relations from the University of Westminster.

    Sarah is a member of Nominations Committee.

  • Tim Savage

    Co-opted Staff Member

    UCA has been integral to Tim’s career for more than 20 years. He first joined Surrey Institute of Art & Design (now UCA Farnham) in 1995 as a BA (Hons) Photography student, graduating in 1998 before rejoining two years later as a technician. After progressing through a number of technical roles, and following a period covering the role of Health & Safety Manager, in 2016 he was appointed to his current position of Academic Development Planning Manager. In this role he has an institution-wide remit to plan a range of resources associated with the University’s academic strategies.

    Tim has published two books on photography and has written articles for magazines including Photography Monthly, Turning Pro, Advanced Photographer and Professional Photography. He continues to teach on courses at West Dean College of Arts & Conservation, and is a practising freelance commercial photographer and artist.

    Tim is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Co-opted Governor at Folly Hill Infant School in Farnham.

  • Katie Taylor

    Student Member

    Katie is President Kent of the UCA Students’ Union for 2019-20.

  • 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.