Today we announce the appointment of Jen Hunter as our Chair of the SMIA Board, with Robert Kilpatrick also announced as CEO and Creative Director on a permanent basis following being appointed to the interim role earlier this year.


Jen Hunter will now lead the SMIA’s Company Board and support Kilpatrick in the setting and delivery of SMIA strategy, all centred around increasing the value of Scotland’s music industry both at home and on the world stage; economically, socially and culturally.


Jen began her career as a touring musician and later moved into local authority arts, programming music for East Kilbride Arts Centre and working as Music Development Officer in Falkirk where she produced the Way to Blue Festival. Jen served as Regional Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland for the Musicians’ Union from 2006 to 2014 before co-founding Hackaye Projects; delivering a program of hackdays and maker events challenging young people to visualise the change they wanted to see and connecting them to digital skills to drive transformation. 


From 2017 Jen Hunter was Director of Culture Counts, whose mission is to protect the ecosystem of the arts, heritage and creative industries for our common future through administration and policy change. While at Culture Counts she secured key support for the sector within the Planning Scotland Bill and lobbied on behalf of the wider culture sector throughout Brexit negotiations and the Covid-19 pandemic; leading to sector recognition and support.


As Chair of the SMIA, Jen Hunter will lead the organisation’s 15-strong Company Board. Responsible for setting and implementing the company’s direction and strategy, she will manage the board’s activities and support the SMIA’s CEO and Creative Director Robert Kilpatrick


Jen Hunter succeeds former Chair Dougal Perman, who held the position from 2016 until earlier this year. Since then Nick Stewart (Director of notable grassroots venue Sneaky Pete’s and former Music Venue Trust Scottish Coordinator) and Sarah Johnson (Client Relations Manager EMEA, FUGA)  have each held the role of Interim Chair. 


Along with the announcement of a new Chair, the SMIA today announces the permanent appointment of Robert Kilpatrick as CEO and Creative Director. 

Robert Kilpatrick | Photo credit: Holly Quinn

Initially appointed to the role on an interim basis earlier this year, since this time Kilpatrick has demonstrated strong leadership and has made a significant impact on the SMIA’s continued development. Having spent almost a decade with the company, Kilpatrick has a proven track record in creative and strategic direction, project management, leadership and business development; further evidenced through the recent delivery of the twelfth annual Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award. Culminating in an award Ceremony which took place at Stirling’s Albert Halls on Thursday 26 October, Young Fathers made SAY Award history by winning Scotland’s national music prize for a third time with ‘Heavy Heavy’.  


Speaking of the appointments, Robert Kilpatrick, CEO and Creative Director of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “Having worked with Jen Hunter in various capacities over the years, I’ve been both impressed and inspired by what a strategic and dedicated cultural leader she is. Jen’s wealth of experience across areas including sector development, cultural policy and governance will be invaluable to the SMIA, and I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome her to the organisation as our new Chair. 


I’m also incredibly honoured to be taking on the CEO and Creative Director role on a permanent basis, and I’d like to thank the SMIA Company Board for their continued support. We’re gearing up to launch some incredibly exciting initiatives next year, and I look forward to continuing to lead the SMIA executive team; delivering work designed to strengthen, empower and unite Scotland’s music industry.”


Jen Hunter, newly appointed Chair of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “I’m looking forward to working with Robert Kilpatrick and the team, and to bringing my experience of member-led governance to the organisation.” 


The SMIA now comprises over 4,000 members working across Scotland’s music industry ecosystem. The organisation provides a voice for its membership when speaking to Government, Parliament and development organisations. It delivers a wide range of services, projects and events designed to stimulate domestic and international growth, sustainability, development and innovation; all with equality, diversity and inclusion at the core. 


In addition to the announcement of the new appointments, the SMIA has launched its search for a General Manager who will be responsible for the day-to-day management of business operations; supporting Kilpatrick and the work of the wider executive team. Applications are open now, with the deadline being 5pm on Monday 8 January.  To learn more, click here.