Paul Thompson

Vice-Chancellor at Royal College of Art

Dr Paul Thompson is a leading authority on art and design having worked at the intersection of culture and education for three decades.

Throughout his leadership of three international institutions – the Royal College of Art, the National Design Museum in New York, and the UK’s Design Museum – he has championed the best of design and fostered a positive environment for artists and innovators to flourish.

Dr Thompson has been Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design postgraduate university, since 2009. He has instigated strategic shifts in the academic vision of the institution, most notably, introducing scientific members of faculty (in computer science, materials science, and robotics) alongside the ‘traditional’ craft-based practitioners in glass, ceramic, print and painting. New programmes in Environmental Architecture and City Design have led to a substantial expansion of the School of Architecture, while new partnerships with universities in Singapore, the US, Japan and China have ‘internationalised’ the School of Design. As well as a significant investment programme securing the RCA’s future academic vision, Dr Thompson has overseen the opening of a new state-of-the art building at Battersea, designed by Herzog de Meuron, delivering new studios, workshops, research centres, and incubator units for business innovation.



  • Vice-Chancellor

    Current role