William Blair elected new IMA Chair (Sector News)

Posted: Tuesday, 25 April 2017

William Blair, director of collections at National Museums Northern Ireland, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the Irish Museums Association (IMA), following unanimous agreement by members of the board at a meeting held in April 2017.

William Blair succeeds Brian Crowley, who stepped down as chair of the Association earlier this month. The board of directors, staff and members of the Irish Museums Association want to thank Brian for his outstanding and valuable contribution to the development of the Irish Museums Association during his four-year term. Brian Crowley will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors, in line with the IMA's current governance policy.

William Blair joined National Museums Northern Ireland in 2009. As former head of Human History (and Transport), with responsibility for the development and management of the department and its collections, William has led and participated in research and public programmes relating to the collections and has played a significant part in enhancing the organisation's academic and public reputation. He has extensive experience in developing partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders relevant to the work of NMNI, and has worked previously in the independent and local museum sector. William was appointed Director of Collections in 2017.

William is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and holds a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester.

"I am honoured to be appointed to this position. Irish Museums are wonderfully diverse and they make an invaluable contribution to the cultural life of our society. The challenge in coming years will be to further unlock the potential within our collections, to advocate for new investment and to enhance the opportunities within the sector for career development. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board on developing a progressive and compelling vision for Irish museums."

The Irish Museums Association's director of operations Gina O'Kelly added "I am delighted to be working with William during what will be key years in the next stage of the Association's development. His appointment as chair comes as the IMA is developing its new three-year strategy and I am confident that, under his leadership, the IMA will go from strength to strength."

"William's wealth of knowledge and experience has proven to be an asset to the IMA since his appointment to the board of directors in 2013. As we navigate the exit of the UK from the EU and the impact this will have on our sector and the community it serves, the IMA's mission to support museum practice and values, along with promoting the museum's place within our society, is now more important than ever. Under William's guidance, the IMA aims to build on the valuable work carried out by museums across the island to raise the profile of the sector and continue to represent our members in the wider cultural landscape."

The members of the board of directors and staff of the Irish Museums Association would like to congratulate William Blair and wish him every success in shaping the Association's future.

Click here to view a list of members of the board of directors of the IMA.