Wasps is delighted to welcome award-winning architect Karen Anderson as our charity’s new voluntary chair. Karen succeeds Andrew Burrell who is stepping down after nine years at the helm. Karen brings a wealth of experience as a champion of community and artist engagement in major rural, island and urban regeneration projects, from Gigha to the Gorbals. 

Over the last 30 years she has worked on award-winning commissions ranging from £500,000 to over £25million for charities, private clients and the public sector. Based in Ross-shire, Karen was founding partner of architects Anderson Bell Christie and in 2016 launched ‘hirta’ with partner Bruce Brebner, a portal promoting collaboration between creative disciplines.

She said: “For 46 years Wasps has been making a vital contribution to the wealth and health of our nation by providing affordable, inspirational spaces for thousands of artists and makers. I am delighted to now be part of that evolving story and look forward to working in partnership with all our stakeholders – staff, charity trustees and artists – to spread the word about the importance of our work. We all benefit from art and creativity in our lives. Wasps works throughout Scotland to enable and support artists and those who work in the creative industries to enrich our communities. Wasps’ studios, workspaces and galleries bring life back to empty buildings, making our places more dynamic and helping our communities to thrive”.

Like all our Board trustees, Karen offers her guidance and experience on a voluntary basis for our charity.

Outgoing chair Andrew successful tenure saw the opening of Perth Creative Exchange, Inverness Creative Academy and the regeneration of Granton Station in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Andrew said: “It has been a privilege to work with so many talented people. Despite all the challenges, we are still growing as a charity, making a difference to communities through the power of art. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the last nine years and wish Karen well as she carries on the torch.”

Audrey Carlin Chief Executive of Wasps said: “We would like to thank Andrew for his passion and dedication and in turn welcome Karen as new chair. We are looking forward to working with Karen as we set out our vision for the future and continue to support the network of talented independent artists and creative businesses across Scotland.”

About Karen Anderson:

  • – Previously Chair of Architecture and Design Scotland, Royal Fine Art Commissioner and taught architecture at the University of Strathclyde.
  • – Won awards for architecture, urban design and masterplanning projects.
  • – Advised Scottish Government on national planning, place and architecture-related policy and local authorities on planning and design strategy.
  • – Chaired representatives from public bodies to develop the case for a design strategy for Scotland. V&A Dundee is project­ managing the feasibility study.
  • – Worked on major regeneration and development projects including Craigmillar and Sighthill, Edinburgh; Easterhouse, Castlemilk and the New Gorbals in Glasgow; Gigha, Coll, Tiree; Paisley, Clydebank and Stirling.
  • – Champion of community empowerment through understanding and involvement in proposals for housing, regeneration and community buildings in their areas; developed tools and methods for participation in the design and development process.
  • – Advocate of re-introducing the practice of involving artists in publicly-funded projects; assisted clients to obtain funding to commission artwork
  • – Early promoter of landscape and external spaces for well-being, including introducing mini allotments and fruit bearing trees in social housing projects, and green gyms and sensory gardens in health buildings.
  • – Experienced in working to retrofit and re-purpose historic and existing buildings
  • – Promoter of low carbon, sustainable design; built first mixed-use mass timber building; developed Sustainable Design Guidance for Argyll and for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

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