A Warm Welcome to Our New Chairs!


This week Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution was delighted to welcome both a new Chair of Management, Julie Cole and alongside her a new Chair of Directors, Professor Ian Gadd.

Although new to many of you, both have been working with the institution over the last couple of (rather interesting) years and understand well both the challenges the institution faces and its manifold strengths.  If you have not met Julie or Ian before you might wish to learn a little more about them below.


Julie Cole is a Museum/Heritage Governance Consultant who specialises in strategic and business planning in the Heritage sector. Working behind the scenes she will appear new to many of you. She says, ‘To those of you who recognise me but can’t place me, I was part of the 2019-20 ‘Opening Up’ team working with the BRLSI Directors/Trustees focusing on governance and organisational review. I have been working in the charity sector for 18 years as an employee, volunteer, trustee and consultant mostly in the museum/heritage sector and get a real buzz from being part of a team that delivers change.’ My husband and I are re-locating to north Hampshire and will be in commutable distance of Bath, enabling me to take a present and active role supporting BRLSI, hopefully as a Trustee.


Ian Gadd is a Professor of English Literature at Bath Spa University, where he’s worked since 2002. He teaches literature of the 16th-, 17th-, and 18th centuries, and has a particular research interest in the history of printing, publishing, and reading. For the past six years he has been Academic Director of the Global Academy of Liberal Arts (GALA), an international network of 19 universities in 14 countries founded by Bath Spa University, and is also Head of Development for European Projects overseeing the University’s EU-funded projects. Ian was appointed to BRLSI’s Board in 2019, has chaired the ‘Forward to the Future’ steering group that oversaw the development of the new digital trails app, the new exhibition, and the new website, and is co-convenor of the Literature and Humanities group.

On being elected he said “It is an enormous honour and privilege to have been elected as Chair of BRLSI’s Board. Betty will be a very tough act to follow but I am enormously grateful to her and my fellow Directors for their support and guidance during this period of transition and beyond. I am still relatively new to BRLSI but I can already see why the Institution is so valued by members. It has been a very difficult 18 months for all of us in Bath but the Institution has survived thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our staff and volunteers. There will be challenges ahead, but also exciting opportunities especially as we head towards our bicentenary in 2024, and I look forward to working with everyone over the coming months and years. Finally, I am very keen to hear from members so please do email me directly at chair@brlsi.org

Our management team very much hope you will come in and introduce yourselves over the coming months, and we all collectively look forward to seeing what plans they have in store for us.