Public appointment: new members appointed to the Board of the National Galleries of Scotland

Public appointments news release.

The Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Neil Gray, today announced the appointments of Apphia Campbell, Gemma Gray, James McConville, Professor Katherine Sang and Dawn Thomson as Members of the Board of National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).


Apphia Campbell graduated from Florida International University with a BFA in theatre performance.  In 2013, she wrote her critically acclaimed piece, ‘Black Is The Color Of My Voice’ which opened in Shanghai to rave reviews before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014 and touring the UK.  In 2017, her show with Meredith Yarbrough, ‘Woke’, was presented as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase and won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Highly Commended award from Amnesty International and was shortlisted for The Filipa Bragança Award and Scottish Art Club Theatre Award.  In 2019, she received her first commission from the BBC for a children’s story and also wrote for the National Theatre of Scotland.  She joined the Board of the Edinburgh Fringe Society in 2020.

Gemma Gray is a strategic marketing and communications consultant who works across a range of sectors.  She started her career at Saatchi & Saatchi London and has over twenties years’ experience in advertising, marketing and branding.  During that time she worked for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, VisitScotland and the National Trust of Scotland.  Gemma is passionate about the social, cultural and emotional importance that galleries and museums play within society and has a particular interest in public benefit and widening access to all.  

James McConville has significant experience in financial services, group strategy and transformation.  His career has been spent in financial services in both banking and insurance.  He is a Non-Executive Director of Aviva Plc, a leading savings, retirement and insurance business and a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Katherine Sang is Professor of Gender Employment Studies at Heriot Watt University, specialising in co-designing workplace solutions to creating inclusive and accessible workplaces for marginalised people.  She has a particular interest in improving the working lives of women, neurodivergent people and those with long-term health conditions.  Through working with employers across the public, private, third sectors and trade unions, Kate's work has created positive change for marginalised workers.  She is an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) and delivers teaching and training on Human Resources management.  She is also a member of the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel for the Research Excellence Framework 2021, the Equality and Diversity Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, and the Association of Research Managers.

Dawn Thomson is a therapist, coach and TEDx speaker who works in a private practice in Edinburgh.  She previously worked in the graphic design industry for fifteen years, before retraining and holds a degree in Visual Communication from the Edinburgh College of Art.  As a native Londoner with a Caribbean heritage, Dawn is committed to supporting NGS in its goal of inclusivity and art for all.


The appointments will be for four years.  Apphia Campbell, Professor Katherine Sang and James McConville commenced their appointments on 24 January 2022 until 23 January 2026.  Gemma Gray and Dawn Thomson will commence their appointment on 1 October 2022 until 30 September 2026.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


The appointments are part-time, with a time commitment of up to twelve days per annum.  Appointments to the Board of National Galleries of Scotland are not remunerated.

Other ministerial appointments

Apphia Campbell, Gemma Gray, James McConville, Professor Katherine Sang and Dawn Thomson do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.   

Professor Katherine Sang is a member of the Labour Party, and in that capacity serves as women’s officer for her local branch and trade union liaison officer for her constituency Labour Party.  She canvassed for the local candidates in the 2017 and 2019 general elections.  In the 2021 Holyrood Elections, she was a member of the campaign team for the local candidate.  Professor Sang is the Equality Officer for her branch of the University and College Union (UCU) and sits on the UCU Scotland Executive Committee as the Equality Officer.

Apphia Campbell, Gemma Gray, James McConville and Dawn Thomson have had no political activity within the last five years.


The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS)

NGS is a vibrant organisation, employing around 330 staff at its three Edinburgh sites.  Its mission is to care for, develop, research and display the national collection of Scottish and international art.  This includes a lively and innovative programme of activities, exhibitions, education and publications, which aim to engage, inform and inspire the broadest possible public.  It ranks within the top thirty most visited museums anywhere in the world.

Today, NGS’s mission is based on the drive to make art work for everyone.  NGS is one of Scotland’s most popular cultural destinations, and before the Covid-19 pandemic welcomed around 2.7 million visitors a year to its Galleries.  This number reduced significantly during the pandemic, however NGS has continued during the lockdown to reach out to its audience online through an enhanced digital offer.

The Scottish National Gallery on the Mound is being redeveloped to create a major display space for Scottish art.  In the next few years the vision for a new National Collection Facility (The Art Works) will come to fruition: a multi-million pound development in North Edinburgh which will provide a low energy environment for protecting the national collection and sharing it with the widest possible national and international public. 

NGS fulfils a statutory role as one of the nation’s most significant cultural organisations.  It operates within the context of the Scottish Government’s national outcomes and strategic objectives, including public service reform.

Core funded by the Scottish Government, like all public bodies, NGS operates within a challenging financial climate and must make the most of opportunities to continue to collaborate with other key national and international institutions from a range of sectors and to generate income from a range of sources. 

Information about the National Galleries is available.

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