The SPA Fine Art Panel

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Gordon Mitchell RSW RSA RGI

Gordon was born in Edinburgh in 1952. He trained at Edinburgh College of Art where he completed his postgraduate studies in fine art. In 1997 he was elected to the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW). The following year he was elected member of the Scottish Academy and the Glasgow Institute. He has exhibited widely within Scotland and internationally with his most recent exhibition at the Portland Gallery in London. widely regarded as one of the finest contemporary draughtsmen and imaginary painters. His work is often admired for its humour as well as its technical brilliance. Gordon is the Director of the Scottish Portrait Awards and chairs the Fine Arts Panel.

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John Byrne

John is one of Scotland’s most important and prolific artists, excelling as a painter, printmaker and playwright. Born in Paisley in 1940, he attended both Glasgow and Edinburgh Schools of Art, winning many prestigious awards for painting. He spent six months in Italy and returned as a masterful and confident young artist. Much of his early work was carried out in naïve style under the pseudonym ‘Patrick’ and he collaborated with many big stars in the late 60s and early 70s. 
Most of his paintings are based on portrait/self-portraiture. His work is held in many major collections in Scotland and abroad, including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 
He is an honorary member of the RGI, an honorary fellow of the GSA and the RIAS. He has honorary doctorates from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde. His written works include ‘The Slab Boys’, ‘Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Your Cheating Heart’.  View John’s website

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Imogen Gibbon, Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Imogen graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1996 with an MA (Hons) in Art History. She also holds an MSc in Archive Administration from Aberystwyth University.  From 1997 until 2002 she was Curator of Historic Photographs and Ship Plans at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich.  In 2002 she began her career at the National Galleries of Scotland as Senior Curator of the Reference Section at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. In 2013 Imogen was appointed to her current role, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. She has curated a number of exhibitions at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – the most recent being the co-curation of the major summer exhibition at the Portrait Gallery: Facing the World: Self-Portraits Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei. 


Jennifer McRae

Jennifer McRae studied painting at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen from 1987-1992 and received a First Class Degree in Fine Art. She has received awards from the BP Portrait Award, the Hunting Art Prizes, the Singer Friedlander and Kaupthing Watercolour prizes and the Morrison Scottish Portrait award. In 2008 she was the first Prize Winner in the RWS Sunday Times Watercolour competition and was also for the third time a Prize Winner at the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition held at Mall Galleries in February 2013. In May 2014, she won the Ondaatje Gold Medal, Royal Society of Portrait Painters and was Artist in Residence in 2015 at the Carnegie Club, Skibo Castle, Dornoch (courtesy of AIR residencies).  Jennifer creates work that combines reality with imagination, working from life while adhering to her own sense of detail and design. Her work has been widely exhibited and can be found in many public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Reading Museum, Singer & Friedlander, Aberdeen Arts Gallery, Garrick Club, Lord’s MCC Museum, The Royal Society, The Royal Collection, Windsor. Jennifer’s recent portrait commissions have included Dame Judi Dench and Sir Chris Hoy. View Jennifer’s website

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Guy Peploe, Director of The Scottish Gallery

Born into an artistic family, Guy studied History of Art at Aberdeen University. He is the owner/director of The Scottish Gallery, the most prestigious and oldest privately owned gallery in Scotland. Guy is a renowned and well-respected figure within the Scottish art scene and has many written works to his credit, including books on S.J. Peploe and Pat Douthwaite. He is recognised as the leading authority on the works of the Scottish Colourists and has an intense knowledge of contemporary art and artists. View The Scottish Gallery

The Richard Coward SPA Photography Panel


Ben Harman

Ben Harman is the Director of Stills, a photography gallery with production facilities that was established in 1977 and is based in the heart of Edinburgh. His curated exhibitions for Stills have included presentations of work by Anna Atkins, Margaret Watkins, kennardphillipps, Joseph McKenzie, Fred Daniels, Lewis Baltz and Jo Spence. From 2003-13, Ben was Curator of Contemporary Art for Glasgow Museums where he curated numerous temporary exhibitions and collection displays for the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). From 2007-12, Ben was Lead Curator on Glasgow’s Art Fund International collecting project. View Stills Gallery


Malcolm Dickson

Malcolm is the Director of Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow, a gallery and education resource which embraces different genres of photography from photographic artists locally, nationally and internationally. He coordinates an inclusive and diverse programme and has curated many of its solo shows, as well as projects elsewhere. Recent writing includes an essay in the book ‘Growing Up in the New Age – Marjolaine Ryley’ (Daylight, USA, March 2013) and a chapter in the book ‘Rewind: British Artists’ Video in the 1970s & 1980s’ (John Libbey Publishing, Sept 2012). He is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Dundee University. View Streetlevel Photoworks

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Robin Gillanders

Robin is former Reader in Photography at Edinburgh Napier University. He is also a practising portrait photographer and has several portraits in the collection of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and National Portrait Gallery, London. Publications include The Photographic Portrait (2004), The Philosopher’s Garden (2004), Highland Journey: In the Spirit of Edwin Muir (2009), and A Lover’s Complaint (2016)
His solo exhibition Ten Men was exhibited at Street Level Photoworks in 2012 and he had a major retrospective at Stills Gallery in 2017


Siobhán Coward

Siobhán became involved in photography when she met Richard in 1975.  In 2017, Siobhán established the Richard and Siobhán Coward Charitable Foundation, a grant giving Foundation supporting the art of analogue photography Further details about the Foundation can be found at: 

Cover photo credit: Steven Higginson,