Plymouth College of Art appoints Paul Fieldsend-Danks as Academic Dean

Plymouth College of Art has appointed Paul Fieldsend-Danks in the new role of Academic Dean, as part of the College’s continued development as a distinctive and innovative specialist Higher Education Institution (HEI), undergoing the year-long process of scrutiny on its journey to achieving Taught Degree-Awarding Powers (TDAP) and university title.

Paul will have academic oversight of the undergraduate and postgraduate provision at the College, and be a key member of the Senior Leadership Team. In his role as Academic Dean, he will lead the development of the School of Arts + Media, School of Design + Communication, and future School of Critical + Cultural Studies, ensuring the highest standards of learning and teaching, research and scholarship, knowledge transfer, and student experience.

Working closely with the Vice Principal, the Academic Dean will lead innovative development, validation, and implementation of an integrated cross-College curriculum aligned with the College’s strategic vision and commitment to creative learning and social justice.

Christy Johnson said: "Paul’s professional credibility as an artist, and his extensive background in arts education, made him the ideal appointment for this position in achieving our strategic objectives for the future. His confident leadership, deep interest in students as partners, and commitment to interdisciplinary exchange will help drive innovation as we move forward.”

Paul first joined Plymouth College of Art in November 2016 as Associate Dean Art, assuming further responsibility as Head of the Graduate School in 2017. Prior to this he was Head of Taught Postgraduate Awards at Norwich University of the Arts, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts, Course Leader BA (Hons) Fine Art at University of Bath/Swindon College School of Art & Design, and Lecturer BA (Hons) Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University.

Paul said of his appointment: “I have over twenty years of experience in Higher Education, leading academic programmes within specialist arts institutions. I’ve been through the transitional period from art school to specialist arts university before, and have been active in supporting the growth and development of undergraduate and postgraduate studies in this context. I feel that I’m well placed to help Plymouth College of Art strengthen the link between our research and teaching, and to ensuring that our research and creative pedagogy has an impact on the world in which we live.”

“Creative learning through pedagogical innovation, and social justice through community impact and social mobility, are the two strands driving forward the strategic development of Plymouth College of Art. I am looking forward to helping the college move forward against these goals, fostering a progressive attitude through open dialogue and interdisciplinary practices.”

“On a more personal level, I’m very happy to be working in this role in such a proactive city for arts and culture. The arts are vital to the regeneration of Plymouth as a city and as a rationale for investment in the South West, which makes this a very exciting place to call home.“