National Portrait Gallery - 2x Trustees

Body: National Portrait Gallery
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: London (however meetings are held remotely at present).
Number of Vacancies: 2
Remuneration: Board appointments are not remunerated, but reasonable expenses are paid.  
Time Requirements: Quarterly Board meetings, ad hoc meetings and an annual Strategy Day.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    25/02/2021 at 23:00

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 22nd March

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 3rd May

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The National Portrait Gallery’s Board is seeking two new Trustees: a Historian and a Cultural Management/Youth Engagement Trustee.

National Portrait Gallery – Background

Established in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery is to maintain a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art.

The National Portrait Gallery is unique in being both for and about people.  From Katherine Parr to Martin Parr, we serve as the nation’s family album, inviting everyone to meet the people who have made – and are making – Britain what it is today.  The Gallery highlights the cultural and historical links that we all share and that bind us together, something that is more important now than ever. It plays a clear and urgent role in helping to foster empathy, social cohesion and inclusion, which were among its founding principles and remain just as true and relevant today.

The Gallery is home to the largest and most prestigious collection of portraits in the world. Its Collection (comprising the Primary Collection, the Reference Collections and the Photographs Collection) includes people from all four corners of this country, who have shaped our society over the past 500 years, and show the potential in everyone to make a difference.

The Gallery’s website attracted a record-breaking 5.5 million visits in 2019/20 and its social media channels now reach over 1.4 million followers.

The Gallery currently employs around 126 staff and total income in 2019-20 was £23.5 million.  As with other national museums, while it receives government support as an Arm’s Length Body of DCMS, the Gallery increasingly relies on its ability to supplement this grant from other sources and self-generated income, which amounted to 70% of annual income in 2019-20.  While the building at St Martin’s Place remains closed and as the Gallery seeks to complete its major capital campaign, the ability to generate income from a variety of other sources remains of increasing importance.


Person Specification

Historian Trustee

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • A thorough knowledge of British history and culture post-1500, social history in particular.
  • A background as a scholar or writer with established academic qualifications in the field of British history and prominence within the sector.
  • Proven ability at expanding and deepening public’s engagement with history and bringing history to life across multiple platforms.
  • Strong commitment to broadening history’s audiences through making history more inclusive and diverse.


Cultural Management/ Youth Engagement Trustee

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • A successful track record of delivering cultural projects and initiatives working with younger audiences.
  • A high-level understanding of current audience trends and how they could be used strategically to broaden the Gallery’s audiences, younger audiences in particular.
  • Commercial awareness and an appreciation of future opportunities, including opportunities digital transformation presents, for the Gallery.
  • An ability to represent younger people’s views and perspectives at Board level.


Additionally, for both roles the two successful candidates will be able to demonstrate the majority of the  following other essential criteria:

  • An understanding of, and commitment to, the vision and values of the National Portrait Gallery and its future development, particularly the Inspiring People.
  • An understanding of the diverse communities in the UK and a real commitment to promoting diversity and equality.
  • A commitment to preserving the Gallery’s collection, maintaining an acknowledgment of art’s important role in teaching us about our past and, sometimes the need to contextualise or reinterpret, but never to erase.
  • Excellent communication and representational skills with a range of stakeholders and the ability to contribute to policy and strategy development with innovative thinking.
  • An ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision making.
  • An ability to contribute to the Board’s advice on proposed acquisitions and the commissioning process.
  • A good understanding of the self-generated income needs of the Gallery and willingness to support its fundraising activities. 


Duration of Appointment:

The appointment is for a period of up to four years with the possibility of re-appointment at the end of that term. The posts are expected to begin in Spring 2021.


Additional Information

The Board of Trustees

The chief role of Trustees is to assist the Chair in meeting the Board’s overall responsibilities under the Museums and Galleries Act and the Charities Act, and in accordance with the guidance issued by the Secretary of State.  Trustees offer guidance and expertise on the Gallery’s strategy and its practical implementation.  They must be positive advocates for the Gallery, representing it to ministers, officials at DCMS, and others.  They must also assist the Chair in ensuring that the Gallery’s affairs are conducted with probity.

Trustees must be able to attend Board meetings and such other sub-committee meetings as may be necessary.  Board meetings are held four times a year in London (remotely at present), with one additional strategy day. Some additional time will need to be devoted to ad hoc meetings, studying papers, attending events organised by the Gallery (where restrictions allow) and occasional visits to regional partnerships.

Current Board members:

  • David Ross (Chair)
  • Roger Blundell
  • Dr Mark Cecil
  • Rob Dickins CBE
  • Dr Joanna Kennedy 
  • Marcus Harling
  • Dr Andrew Roberts
  • Björn Savén
  • Sir Peter Stothard
  • Rachel Wang
  • Professor Shearer West
  • Jonathan Yeo
  • The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
  • Rebecca Salter PRA (ex officio)
  • The Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP (ex officio)
  • Christopher Townsend OBE (co-opted)


Diversity Monitoring Form
National Portrait Gallery - 2x Trustee role specs
Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies
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