Academy of Urbanism Chair Andrew Burrell provides an update on a busy spell at the Academy over these past few months which has seen changes to key personnel, welcoming new faces, and hosting a very successful Congress in Belfast.

As many of you will already know our long serving Managing Director, Linda Gledstone, decided to seek pastures new having served the Academy for 15 years, whilst Stephen Gallagher accepted a senior role with his other employer which prevented his continuing with the AoU on a part-time basis at roughly the same time. Having interviewed a number of excellent candidates we unanimously agreed to offer the role to Christine Smallwood as Managing Director who formally took up her role earlier this month. Christine will be a great asset for the Academy and I’m sure you will all have the opportunity to welcome her personally over the coming months.

Christine Smallwood

Similarly, we were able to welcome three new directors to the Board: Heather Claridge, Shane Quinn and Andrew Bailie. Their mix of experience and backgrounds in the public, private and third sectors will be of major assistance to the Board. In addition, we will seek three further new directors to complement our Board of twelve as three directors (and former Chairs) reach the time limit for holding office: David Rudlin, Tony Reddy and myself.

Our first ‘live’ Congress since before the pandemic was held in Belfast during June. It was a most rewarding experience and, although attendance was slightly lower than in some previous years, was rated a great success and we are most indebted to the local team and Academicians who acted as curators and much more, ably led by Shane Quinn.

Christine Smallwood with new directors in clockwise order:
Andrew Bailie, Heather Claridge and Shane Quinn

This is a time of great opportunity for the Academy – we have a new senior team, new directors and will shortly welcome our new Chair, Jas Atwal, at the end of this financial year in January. As always, our membership is key to our objectives and we appreciate your involvement and support. There are many ways to engage with the Academy: consider applying for a Board role; or join one of the Working Groups that tackle specific issues – Membership and Partnership, Events and Marketing, or Policy. We’d also like to ask you to recommend membership to colleagues and corporate bodies to grow our strength and influence. There are several membership packages which can be tailored to suit requirements and more information to assist any discussions can be made available by our management team.

We can’t allow Linda and Stephen to leave without having an opportunity to thank them and we will make details known of a date when they would both be able to attend a lunch or similar.

Thank you for your continued support and let’s work towards greater knowledge of good urbanism, together.