The Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design has made three exciting new appointments to their senior leadership team. Sarah Niblock has been appointed to the role of Associate Dean (Undergraduate), Jonathan Stockdale to Associate Dean (Postgraduate), and Gillian Youngs to Head of Innovation and Impact.

Founded in 1838, as the first polytechnic in the UK, the University of Westminster was the original blueprint for the sought-after model of collaboration with industry and practice. Since then it has developed into a University which is closely involved in business, professional and academic life within London, as well as overseas.

One of five faculties in the University, the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design has a real focus on inter-disciplinary studies. They recently reconfigured their structure, moving away from traditional departments to course clusters, configured around commonality and complementarity of themes. The School offers internationally-recognised programmes across art, design, media and communications, photography, film, fashion and commercial music. Their practice-based academic portfolio is driven by the centres CREAM (the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media) and CAMRI (the Communication and Media Research Centre). It currently has over 3,000 students across undergraduate and postgraduate level, including a round 100 PhD researchers.

The two Associate Deans will be responsible for the strategic and operational management of the School and the furthering of the School’s aims and vision. Working closely with Professor Kerstin Mey, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, they will provide academic leadership to the Faculty and oversee the design and development of new programmes.

The Head of Innovation and Impact is a newly created role designed to undertake interdisciplinary leadership across the school and lead on the enhancement of innovative approaches in research and teaching to partnership work externally.

During the search we targeted academics in leadership roles or with similar experience in art and design schools. The search primarily focused on Institutions in the UK and Ireland but also looked further afield. We wanted to find individuals who had a strong personal research and teaching track record.

Professor Sarah Niblock joins Westminster from Brunel University, where she was Professor and Head of the Department of Social Sciences, Media and Communications. NCTJ-trained, Sarah is a journalist, broadcaster and author whose research includes journalism studies, media and cultural studies, visual culture and musicology. Previously Sarah was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Journalism at City University. She obtained her PhD from Middlesex University in psychoanalytical theory and visual culture. Sarah sits on the editorial board of four international peer reviewed journals.

Professor Jonathan Stockdale trained initially as a performer working across jazz, popular and contemporary music genres, before specialising in electro-acoustic and computer music composition leading to the award of a DPhil in 1988 from the University of York. Jonathan went on to various academic and leadership roles at University College Salford, Leeds College of Music, and the Victorian College of the Arts, Australia. He subsequently took up post as Principal and Professor of the Royal Northern College of Music, before joining the University of West London as Professor of Music.

Professor Gillian Youngs has over 20 years’ experience in academia following an earlier career in journalism and communications consulting for clients in high tech, civil aviation and the media sector. Her work has focused on technology and change, in particular the impact of the internet on society and economy. She has researched in collaboration with Innovate UK and has worked with research councils and bodies including the Arts Council, the BFI and Policy Connect. Internationally she has participated in UNESCO projects and NGO networks across Europe, Africa, the USA, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to joining Westminster, Gillian was Professor of Digital Economy and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) in the College of Arts and Humanities, University of Brighton. In addition to her role as Head of Innovation and Impact, Gillian has been appointed Professor of Creative and Digital Economy.