V&A Dundee has announced that Leonie Bell has been appointed its new Director.
One of Scotland’s most experienced cultural leaders, Leonie has worked in a diverse range of roles, advocating for the transformative potential of culture and creativity across society.
Leonie was born in Dundee and grew up in nearby Fife. She will bring authenticity, knowledge and energy to V&A Dundee, as well as an understanding of the museum, its importance to Dundee and Scotland, and of the cultural sector in Scotland and the UK.
Currently Strategic Lead for the Future Paisley Partnership at Renfrewshire Council, Leonie leads Paisley’s ambitious cultural regeneration plans following on from its UK City of Culture Bid. Future Paisley is a wide-ranging programme that builds on the town’s design heritage with a £110 million investment to transform its future.
Replacing Founding Director Philip Long OBE, Leonie is “delighted and honoured to have been appointed Director of V&A Dundee. I am looking forward to working with the Board, the team, the museum’s partners and the people of Dundee to further establish V&A Dundee as a world-class design museum for Scotland. Like so many, I have watched V&A Dundee flourish in its first two years, and it is a huge privilege to lead the museum into its next phase.”
Leonie’s experience includes leadership and senior management in local and national government, national agencies and in the culture sector. She also chairs the Advisory Board of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and is a trustee of the Edinburgh International Festival.
She began her career at Glasgow 1999: UK City of Architecture & Design before becoming Programme Director at The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design & the City. In this role, Leonie led an ambitious programme of exhibitions, festivals and events that celebrated and advocated for design and its importance locally, nationally and internationally.
“The role of design now is greater than ever”, Leonie says. “The way we live, work, gather, communicate, share, learn and play is changing. V&A Dundee, alongside the wider design community, has a critical role to play as we adapt to, and debate, the ideas, influences and social and economic challenges of our time. The museum is an emblem of the city’s design and industrial heritage and a bright beacon for its future. The spectacular building is situated on one of the most beautiful estuaries and in one of UK’s most ambitious and creative cities. V&A Dundee celebrates the designed world and through its programme it enriches and inspires, drawing people in and reaching out across Dundee, Scotland and the world.”