Press release

V&A Dundee Director awarded Honorary Professorship

Published on 9 August 2021

The University of Dundee has conferred an Honorary Professorship to Leonie Bell, V&A Dundee Director, for her services to design.

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Honorary Professorships are given where an individual makes a significant contribution to their industry or speciality and has an evidential link with either the city of Dundee or the University.

The University of Dundee is one of V&A Dundee’s founding partners and the two organisations work closely to build on their respective reputations in a bid to promote the city as a cultural hub in Scotland.

Professor Anita Taylor, Dean of the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, said, “We are delighted to have Leonie Bell as an Honorary Professor.

“This appointment reflects our integral relationship with V&A Dundee as a founding partner and will foster the development of even stronger links through our ongoing collaboration. For example, the establishment of new projects, research initiatives, and public engagement activities, as we enhance and support the collective ambition of the University, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, V&A Dundee, and many others in the city, to sustain Dundee as a beacon for design in Scotland and beyond.”

Leonie Bell was born in Dundee and grew up in nearby Fife. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and has a Postgraduate Diploma in History of Design & Decorative Arts, also from the University of Glasgow. She was appointed Director of V&A Dundee in 2020.

Previously, she has held leadership roles with the Future Paisley Partnership at Renfrewshire Council leading on its cultural regeneration. At the Scottish Government, she led on Scotland’s first Culture Strategy in over a decade. Other roles include Director of Arts at Creative Scotland, Creative Programmer for London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, and Programme Director at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City. She is a trustee of the Edinburgh International Festival, a member of the Theophano Foundation’s Prize Advisory Council and Ambassador for Design Economy 2021, Design Council’s three-year research programme examining the social, environmental and economic value of design.

As Director of V&A Dundee, Leonie is responsible for leading V&A Dundee, Scotland’s design museum, for developing its vision, programme and partnerships, and for championing the fundamental role design plays in all our lives and should have in our future.

V&A Dundee continues to develop its reputation as a world-class organisation and powerful advocate of design, while the University maintains its reputation as one of Scotland’s leading universities, with its Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design ranked Number 1 in Scotland for Art and Design by the Complete University Guide 2021.

The partnership between the two institutions takes a collaborative approach, and last year selected students were asked to design clothing for the museum’s Mary Quant exhibition, which came to Dundee after its tenure at V&A South Kensington.



Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489