Leonie Bell has been Director of V&A Dundee, Scotland’s design museum, since October 2020. As Director, she is responsible for leading the organisation from its spectacular home in Dundee’s reimagined waterfront, for delivering the museum’s vision to inspire and empower through design, and for championing design and designers and the infinite possibilities they bring as catalysts of creativity and change.
Leonie works closely with the Board, museum team, stakeholders and partners to ensure that V&A Dundee continues to grow as a world-class design museum, is an everyday part of life in Dundee, welcomes visitors from around the world, and runs programmes that reach out across Dundee, Scotland, the UK and the world, generating joy and sparking curiosity in design.
Leonie has had a wide variety of leadership roles from the Future Paisley Partnership at Renfrewshire Council, Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City.
She is also a trustee of the Edinburgh International Festival, a Design Economy Ambassador for the Design Council, member of the Theophano Foundation’s Prize Advisory Council, and an Honorary Professor of Design at the University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.
Graeme Cumming joined V&A Dundee in 2018 as Chief Operating Officer. Graeme leads on the museum’s strategic and corporate planning, and is responsible for setting sustainable budgets and monitoring performance. He also has oversight of commercial strategy, health and safety and HR.
Graeme is a Chartered Accountant and worked at PwC in Birmingham. He has had senior roles in public listed bodies in England and Scotland in sectors that include universities, arts, culture and regeneration.
Claire Eva is Director of Media and Audiences for V&A Dundee. This role leads the development and implementation of audience development, media, marketing, digital and IT strategies, onsite and online.
Passionate about the arts and culture, Claire has spent her career in major institutions including Tate, 14-18 NOW, Serpentine Galleries, Hayward Gallery and Arnolfini. Her experience spans the visual arts, music, dance, film, festivals, digital and live events.
Claire completed her BA Honours degree in Art and Related Arts at the West Sussex Institute and studied marketing at University of the West of England, Bristol. Claire has served on the boards for the Arts Marketing Association and the Audience Agency, and is a current trustee at Dundee Ceramics Workshop.
Barry Ferguson joined V&A Dundee as Director of Philanthropy & Partnerships in August 2017. Barry and his team are responsible for private sector income from individual donors, trusts & foundation and corporate sponsors, which makes up around a third of the funding required to operate the museum annually.
Barry was previously Director of Development at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has also worked at St Andrews, Abertay and Glasgow universities in various fundraising, alumni relations and student recruitment roles.
Barry is a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, a Fellow and Vice-President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a trustee of the St Johnstone Community Trust. He is also a member of the Guildry Incorporation of Dundee and of the Bonnetmakers and Dyers Crafts in the city.
Jo Mawdsley began working at V&A Dundee in 2014 as part of the Learning Team, with a remit to develop an engaging and joyful programme of outreach for schools and communities across Dundee and Scotland. Now Head of Learning, Jo is responsible for the development, delivery and evaluation of all learning programmes, projects and resources across the Learning Department’s audiences. She also contributes to the strategic development of the organisation and wider public programme, which aims to fulfil how design can enrich our lives, and our collective health & wellbeing.
Jo has had many roles, both in and out with the museum sector – from Tofu Production Manager to the National Galleries of Scotland, where she worked for several years developing a programme of innovative projects for audiences with historical and contemporary art.
Broadening access to design, art and culture and raising aspiration, is what makes Jo tick.
Sophie McKinlay became Director of Programme in 2016. In this role Sophie is responsible for the strategic leadership of the public programme, which builds upon the vision for V&A Dundee and fulfils the museum’s mission and objectives. Key to this ambition is the close working relationships between the Exhibitions and Learning teams, resulting in an integrated public programme which contributes to an inspiring future vision for the museum.
Sophie has worked in museums and galleries for over 25 years. Previously at Tate Modern, Design Museum and Whitechapel Gallery, she has curated exhibitions on design and architecture while working with Ettore Sottsass, Zaha Hadid, Cedric Price and Herzog & de Meuron. Before joining V&A Dundee, she worked on production and exhibitions for Damien Hirst (Science UK Ltd).
As Director of Operations, Christian is in charge of the commercial development of the museum, front of house teams, as well as maintenance of the building.
Christian previously held roles as a publisher, a cultural attaché and deputy director of the Children’s Museum, Mexico. His professional experience in France and Mexico was dedicated to the management of cultural institutions, striving for excellency in both visitor experience and financial efficiency. A Scientist by education and a Manager through experience, Christian brings projects to life, from their conception right through to their implementation and evaluation.
Before coming to Scotland in 2018, Christian oversaw the renovation of the Children’s Museum of Mexico City, which was declining after 20 years in operation. As Deputy Director, he led a team of educators, designers, architects and marketers looking for ways to connect with new audiences and develop income sources.