February 21, 2020

The John Byrne Award Judging Panel 2020


The John Byrne Award 2020 judging panel brings together some of Scotland’s most successful figures from the worlds of Art, Law, Politics, Literature and Technology.


We are delighted and honoured to be working with such an inspirational panel, and cannot wait to announce their chosen winners at our Award Ceremony in March!

David Eustace, Photographer & Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University


Born in Edinburgh in 1961, but raised in Glasgow, David Eustace served with the Royal Naval Reserve 10 MCM (Mine Counter Measure) Squadron before becoming a prison officer in HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow, where he worked for seven years.

Aged 30, David graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a BA in Photography, Film and Television and went on to become a respected photographer, director, and curator. David has worked for magazines including Vogue, GQ, The Sunday Times, and Elle. His work is in the collections of The Scottish National Portrait Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery in London, and has been exhibited in London Cork Street Gallery, the RSA in Edinburgh, The Scottish Gallery, SWG3, and The Royal Glasgow Institute for The Fine Arts.

Andy Scott, Sculptor


Andy is a renowned sculptor in steel and bronze.  Native of Glasgow, and graduate of Glasgow School of Art, he moved to Philadelphia three years ago with his wife and manager, architect Hanneke Scott van Wel.

He works internationally from his studio workshop in the city and creates prominent sculpture works for private, corporate and civic clients.  His output now numbers in excess of eighty projects internationally.

His most prominent project is The Kelpies, the multi-award-winning pair of 100ft high, 300 ton horse heads, sited in Falkirk.

Andy has been awarded four Honorary Doctorates by UK Universities and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and the Royal Society of the Arts.  He’s a Member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and an Honorary Member of the Ancient Guild of Hammermen in Glasgow.

Aamer Anwar, Lawyer & Justice Campaigner


Aamer is recognised as one of Scotland’s leading criminal defense lawyers & justice campaigners. In 1995 he made legal history in a successful civil action against Strathclyde Police for a racist attack on him as a student, in 1991.

A lawyer since 2000, he has been instructed in some of Scotland’s highest profile cases. His 17-year campaign helped secure a conviction in 2016 for the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar, placing victim’s rights at the heart of the criminal justice system.

He has been awarded Solicitor of the Year on numerous occasions, became Rector of the University of Glasgow in 2017, and is a trustee of the LGBTI charity ‘TIE’. This year he is fighting the extradition of Catalan minister Professor Clara Ponsati as well as being instructed in the ‘Sheku Bayoh Death in Police Custody Public Inquiry’. His spare time he is devoted to his three young children.

Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab


Gillian Docherty is chief executive of The Data Lab, an innovation centre with the mission to help Scotland maximise value from data and lead the world to a data-powered future. The Data Lab believes Scotland can lead the world to a future where data powers scientific progress, economic prosperity and social good.

The Data Lab helps accelerate the journey to impact by fuelling innovation through collaboration, building skills and growing talent, and strengthening Scotland’s thriving data science community. The Data Lab acts as a catalyst, using our expertise, network, funding and platforms to change how Scotland, and the world, innovates with data.

Gillian is passionate about using Data to drive economic and social benefits. She was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 for Services to Information Technology and Business.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival


Nick Barley has been director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival since October 2009.

Innovations during his directorship include Unbound, a free evening mini-festival of literary performances; the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference which took place in 17 cities worldwide; and a Fringe First-winning promenade theatre production, Letters Home, co-produced with Grid Iron Theatre Company in 2014.

Nick Barley was chair of the judging panel for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize and is President of the Word Alliance – an international network of the world’s leading literary festivals.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.

Laura Westring, Ghostwriter & Speechwriter


Laura Westring is the creator of Vocalcoach leadership communications and leads Public Affairs at Amiqus, a tech-for-good company. During her EU career, her work to help young women gain positive leadership skills was recognised by Barack Obama when the White House requested that she introduce the President’s Address to European Youth during his 2014 visit to Brussels. Laura’s speech made headlines and later that year she became the youngest political speechwriter at the European Commission. Ronald de Bruin included a chapter about her impact in his book Twenty-First Century Leadership for EU Institutions.

After the EU membership referendum in 2016, Laura returned to Scotland to work with profit-for-purpose companies. She believes trends in speech making are an important indication of the health of our democracy and occasionally provides news commentary. Laura is currently working on a number of writing, teaching and broadcasting projects at various stages of development.