Former ITV boss appointed university Dean

Released: Friday 26th June 2009 at 00:00

Graeme Thompson, Regional Director for Tyne Tees and Border, has been appointed Dean of the University of Sunderland's Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

Mr Thompson, who is also chair of the Royal Television Society in the North East and is on the board of Northern Film and Media, will begin his role as Dean in August.

The Faculty has a strong research profile, close links with industry, and a reputation for producing highly employable graduates.  As part of his role Mr Thompson will oversee the work of students based in some of the UK's most advanced teaching facilities, including the David Puttnam Media Centre, the National Glass Centre and the SAGE Gateshead.

Professor David Fleming, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, says: "I'm delighted that Graeme will be joining us.  He brings a wealth of practical experience and sound business credentials to this important role."

Mr Thompson spent his early career as a journalist in Worcestershire and the Midlands.  He joined the BBC as a radio producer in 1983 producing local radio news programmes at BBC Radio York and later network entertainment shows for Radio 2 and documentaries for the World Service. He produced the You and Yours consumer show for Radio 4 in 1987 and later became the only male producer on Woman's Hour.

He joined Yorkshire Television in 1988 as a news editor and producer for the regional news programme Calendar.  He went on to set up the Belasis news operation for Tyne Tees Television in 1993 and edited the Teesside-based news programme Network North.  He became Head of News in 1995 and launched the award-winning hour-long news magazine North East Tonight with Mike Neville in 1996.

Mr Thompson was appointed Director of Broadcasting in December 1997 and then Controller of Programmes in 2001.  In 2004 he was appointed MD and Controller of Programmes.

He is chair of Live Theatre in Newcastle which has recently undergone a £5m refurbishment.  Live's production of Lee Hall's The Pitman Painters enjoyed success in the West End and Vienna and is soon to transfer to Broadway.  Graeme has also written and directed for The Customs House in South Shields.

Mr Thompson was born in South Shields and educated at Boldon Comprehensive School and at Darlington College where he studied Journalism.  He is married with three children.

Mr Thompson says: "I am delighted to be involved with such a dynamic university and such a vibrant and ambitious faculty.  The reputation of Arts, Design and Media at Sunderland is already impressive.  I aim to grow that reputation by building strong relationships with industry - locally, nationally and internationally.

"The National Glass Centre for design students and the neighbouring David Puttnam Media Centre on Sir Tom Cowie Campus are amongst the best-resourced of any university in the UK.  As Dean, I want to build on that success and establish an industry-recognised centre of excellence here in Sunderland.  It's never been more important that graduates are equipped for the jobs market after their years of study.

"I've been impressed with the achievements of staff and students at the Faculty.  And I am looking forward to working with them and the leadership team on the next phase of the Sunderland success story."

The Faculty of Arts, Design and Media is split into two departments: The Department of Arts and Design, which includes Dance, Drama & Music, Design, Fine art, Glass and ceramics and Photography; and the Department of Media, which includes Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Journalism and PR, Radio, TV, Video & New Media.

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