Elected to the Academy as the Senior Research Fellow.


Joanna Soden is an independent art historian and curator specialising in Scottish art since 1900 and has been a long-term member of staff of the Royal Scottish Academy. She studied History of Art at the University of Edinburgh and thereafter gained a post-graduate diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester.


An early career in Scottish local government art gallery and museum services followed: at Dundee, then Perth and finally at Edinburgh City Art Centre. After a short career-break she joined the staff of the RSA in 1987 and retired in 2013.


As Collections Curator Joanna managed the care, development and interpretation of the academy’s art collections, library and archive. During this period the RSA’s collections first attained accredited status with the Museums Association and was formally recognised by the Scottish Government as being a “Collection of National Significance”.


Joanna has a particular interest in the role of the RSA and the history of the training of artists in Scotland. In 2006 she was awarded a PhD from the University of Aberdeen, the title of her thesis being Tradition, Evolution, Opportunism. The Role of the Royal Scottish Academy in Art Education 1826-1910. Publications include: J Soden & V Keller, William Gillies (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1998); Murdo Macdonald, Joanna Soden, Lesley Lindsay & Will Maclean (eds), Highland Art from the collections of the Royal Scottish Academy. A Window to the West (Edinburgh: RSA 2008); Joanna Soden, “The John Frederick Lewis Collection at the Royal Scottish Academy. Old Masters as Teaching Aids”, Matthew Potter (ed), The Concept of the Master in Art Education in Britain and Ireland, 1770 to the Present (Farnham: Ashgate 2013); Joanna Soden, “The Royal Scottish Academy teaching and encouraging artists since 1826”, Tom Normand (ed.), Ages of Wonder. Scotland’s Art 1540 to Now (Edinburgh: RSA 2017), and numerous catalogues and articles relating to Scottish art.