Shetland Arts Development Agency (Shetland Arts) is an independent charitable trust whose objectives, set out in the Trust Deed, define the scope and type of work the organisation can undertake. The Trust Deed is the primary governing instrument that all the other policies, plans and activities of Shetland Arts are required to support.


  • Susan Mail (Chair)
  • Chris Gadsby
  • Malcolm Innes
  • James Johnston
  • Michèle Kerry
  • Kerry Larbalestier
  • Catriona Macdonald
  • Jamie Manson
  • Hannah Hough

It is the role of Shetland Arts Development Agency Trustees to ensure the objectives of the Trust are realised through the management and direction of the organisation’s Chief Executive and through the approval and monitoring of a range of policies, delegation schedules and strategic plans. A key role of the Board of Trustees is to take the ‘long view’ on the organisation’s development and sustainability, including the monitoring of financial matters such as the approval of annual budgets and management accounts. Trustees ensure the organisation stays relevant to the community it serves by adapting to change and responding to strategic opportunities and challenges. Trustees serve a term of three years and are selected through a process of open recruitment.

The Chief Executive

The Chief Executive has a key role in developing strategy and policy. She/he attend Board Meetings and contribute to the decision making process. She/he has delegated authority from the Board of Trustees to manage all day to day functions of the Trust (including staffing matters) within agreed budgets and structures; and the delivery of arts development activity through the staff and volunteer team, in line with agreed service plans and organisational objectives. The Chief Executive also carries a specific responsibility for Health & Safety issues, ensuring that all relevant legislation is adhered to and that every reasonable action is taken to reduce risk to all who come into contact with the activity of the Trust.

Trustee Biographies

Susan Mail (Chair)

Susan has worked at a senior management level in the public, private and third sectors. Living in London she was the HR Manager and then Staff Development Manager for the YMCA in England then returned home to Scotland to take up the role of HR Director for Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Married to a Shetlander, they returned “home” in October 2018.

Chris Gadsby

Chris is a Project Manager working for Shetland Island Council. Originally from Leicestershire Chris Joined the Royal Navy as an Engineer in the early 1990s. After leaving the navy Chris worked across Africa for several International Aid Organisations. Chris moved to Shetland with his young family in 2018 and is an active member of several Westside community groups and is a retained Fire Fighter in Bixter.

Malcolm Innes

Malcolm is a very experienced light artist and architectural lighting design consultant with experience on large scale projects around the world. He combines his architectural lighting design work with art projects and commissions working principally with light, sound and projection. Malcolm is now based at Shetland UHI and is Director of the Centre for Island Creativity. He also leads the Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange Group across UHI.

James Johnston

Extensive experience of running third sector organisations currently working as the trading coordinator for the Shetland construction industry.

Michèle Kerry

Michèle currently works for Shetland UHI in the Student Support Team. A decision to study Forestry at university resulted in her leaving Shetland and spending most of her career working in woodland management and the environmental sector in various parts of the UK. With a keen interest in the arts Michèle has always tried to support the sector as a volunteer. Michèle and her family moved back home to Shetland in 2017.

Kerry Larbalestier

Kerry was a solicitor in England for many years, working in a market town practice primarily in the area of Family Law. She trained and worked as a collaborative lawyer to offer her clients a different way of resolving family issues.

She is a Rotarian and was a member of Newton Abbot Rotary Club before transferring to the Lerwick Club following her move to Shetland. During her time with the Newton Abbot Club she supported a number of art projects with local schools or local charities such as The Helen Foundation helping young people to access the arts, and this remains a particular passion of hers.

Catriona Macdonald

Currently living in the Scottish Borders, Catriona was brought up in Lerwick and has been a professional fiddle player since leaving the islands aged 17. Through her performance work she has gained valuable experience in the Creative Arts sector at both national and international levels. She is currently a Senior Lecturer and Degree Programme Director for the BA in Folk and Traditional Music course based at Newcastle University. Researching and promoting Shetland's cultural heritage is Catriona's passion, since her early days as a founder member of Shetland's Young Heritage up to present times when she is in the final stages of a creative practice doctorate which aims to investigate, recover and highlight women's role in Shetland's cultural past.

Jamie Manson

Currently working as the Finance Director for Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd Jamie brings extensive experience of finances and resource management to Shetland Arts. Previous roles include Executive Manager, Finance at Shetland Islands Council and Director of Resources for Ascension Island Government

Hannah Hough

Hannah is an experienced management accountant who has worked in various roles both in the public and private sector. She moved to Shetland in May 2023 with her husband having visited for many years looking for otters. At an amateur level she is especially interested in textile work and crafts.