Bruce Black's career in art and design leadership began with his appointment as Head of School at Bradford College, successfully launching the country's first Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) degree in Art and Design. Steady promotion followed culminating in appointment as Assistant Principal in 1986 and membership of the CNNA Fine Art Board. In 1988, he was appointed Principal of the Norwich School of Art and Design (NSAD), transforming the School into a major national and internationally known institution, recognised by government as one of the few specialist Art and Design higher educational institutions. Professor Black retired from his post as Principal of NSAD in 2001. He was a key player in the establishment of our University's partnership of regional colleges and was awarded a Professorship in Art and Design in 1993. He is a successful exhibiting artist in his own right.
In 2001 Professor Bruce Black was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
"Bruce Black's leadership career in art and design took off when in Bradford College. Under the mentorship of the redoubtable Eric Robinson, he was put into the headship of a large department, with specific instructions to "sort it out!" The department had academic personnel and financial problems, but within six months, turnaround had been accomplished, and the first Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) degree in the country in Art and Design had been successfully launched. Steady promotion followed culminating in appointment as Assistant Principle in 1986 and membership of the Fine Art Board.
In 1988, he was appointed of the Norwich School of Art and Design (NSAD). He transformed the School into a major national institution in its fields and internationally known. It became recognised by government as a higher educational institution. He was responsible for an extensive building programme; the development of the course portfolio; and the establishment of a strong research and postgraduate tradition, exceptional for an institution of NSAD's location and character
He was a key player in the establishment of APU's partnership of regional colleges. He appreciated earlier than most of the mutual benefits and synergy afforded by a strong network of regional co-operation. APU awarded Bruce Black a Professorship in Art and Design in 1993.
He is never a servant of fashion trends, an unconventional and colourful leader (in all respects!) with a prodigious sense of humour. He knew every member of staff and all the students by name. Professor Black retired from his post as Principle of NSAD in 2001.
He is an artist in his own right. He has held ten major exhibitions at venues in England and Scotland and group exhibitions in England, Scotland, Basle, Los Angeles, and Ljubljana. His work is found in collections in London, Scotland and Yorkshire.
Many bodies have sought his advice and expertise. These include the CNAA, the Conference for Higher Education in Art and Design, the Art and Design Admissions Registry, Tate in the East, the Sainsbury Centre. His most effective contributions have been to the Eastern Arts Board where he secured widespread acceptance of his philosophy that art and design has vital contribution to make to the richness of life; that it is study which should be profoundly enjoyed; and one in which outstanding success is not qualified by intellectual level."