As we went to press with the Hot 50, Emily Campbell’s job was in the balance, along with those of many of her colleagues at the British Council as it sought to streamline its ‘creative’ line up.
Campbell’s position as director of design and architecture was called into question earlier this year as the council sought to restructure its specialist departments, bringing them together under one grouping, The Arts Innovation Team. But public outcry from high-profile practitioners in the business prompted the council to reconsider its plans. The restructuring was put on hold pending the outcome of a two-month consultation with key players in the creative industries.
We would hope that Campbell is herself secure within the council, regardless of the outcome of the consultation. Even if restructuring ensues, there ought to be scope for someone of her calibre and experience within the organisation.
A popular figure on the international conference circuit, she and her team have commissioned award-winning designs over the years, bringing in the likes of Casson Mann, Tom Dixon, Ben Kelly and Peter Saville to interpret aspects of British culture for an overseas audience, through architecture and exhibitions mainly.
With promoting ‘Britishness’ as its raison d’être, the British Council could find no better ambassador for design.