Ross Duncan interviews David Eustace Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University

David Eustace

Being and becoming a Chancellor of a university may lead people to think that the route to this prestigious job would be paved in gold and only available to a select few who have proven to have achieved academic success from an early age.  However there are a few who have broken this rule and one of them is David Eustace.

David is an International Photographer and, now, Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh.  Growing up in the east end of Glasgow he left school with little in the way of academic achievement and was never assessed for any kind of difficulty.  David’s daughter was identified as being dyslexic and his wife, who has taught for over thirty years, implied that he might be too.

David admitted that he read slowly, missed out words and didn’t process what he read. Although this may have had a profound effect on his belief for any future career success, it never stopped him or dimmed his ambition.  David believes that negatives are part of life but chooses not to focus on these negatives.  He never thought he was stupid, he just thought differently.  

David worked in the famous Barrowlands Market in Glasgow to eventually working in the infamous Barlinnie Prison as a prison officer.  At the age of 28 he took hold of a camera for the first time; it was to change his life forever.  A lot of sacrifices were made to allow him to become a student at Napier University studying Photographic Studies.  He eventually graduated with a BA with distinction.  Within a short period he was hired for a number of publications and over the years has increased his portfolio of clientele who want to use his services all around the world.

Like his namesake, David Bailey who also happens to be dyslexic and an international photographer, David does believe that being dyslexic has its creative advantages.  He believes that he has a skill and an eye for photography.  He has the ability to see things that others would not give thought to and that being dyslexic probably contributes to that ability.

David was appointed Chancellor of Napier University; a role he takes seriously.  It hasn’t altered or changed his beliefs about how to treat people in education because he couldn’t ever imagine going to University never mind being Chancellor.  David says, “I am the same person who worked in the Barras and I am the same person who happens to be the Chancellor of Napier University.  As figurehead you always lead by example.” 

David also thinks that it’s important to encourage and to engage with students.  “This is something I learnt in the classroom that wasn’t taught; having contact time and being inspired”.  

Ross Duncan

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