Penny joined The Glasgow School of Art in May 2020 as its new Director and CEO. Before that, Penny was Dean of Manchester School of Art and Deputy Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities focusing on external engagement and partnerships.
During her time at Manchester Metropolitan, Penny acted as academic lead for the University’s ground-breaking School of Digital Arts: SODA, which is due to open in 2021. Penny continues as board trustee of Castlefield Gallery and as board trustee of CHEAD (Council for Higher Education in Art and Design). On behalf of CHEAD she represents the sector on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Crafts.
Penny is an active researcher and her work explores cloth’s potential as a carrier of narrative and catalyst for community empathy and cohesion. In March 2018 she co-convened the International Conference Textile and Place with colleagues from Manchester School of Art and The Whitworth Art Gallery. She presented a paper entitled ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ exploring what we might understand by socially engaged or socially enacted textiles. This paper has subsequently been published in a special edition of Textile: The journal of cloth and culture and a companion piece ‘Transcendental Beings: Clothing the Soul’ was commissioned by the Whitworth Art Gallery, for the exhibition catalogue to accompany the exhibition Ancient Textiles of the Andes.