GCHT Team:

Torsten Haak, Director & Company Secretary:

Torsten is an architecture, planning & conservation graduate originally from Germany, who has worked in heritage and conservation across Scotland since 1995 before becoming the first Director of Glasgow City Heritage Trust in 2007.

Torsten started his career as journeyman cabinetmaker in Hamburg before studying for a Diploma in Architecture and Town Planning first at Hamburg University and finally at Edinburgh College of Art. A two-year stint in Japan as an English teacher followed before he returned to Scotland to study for a MSc in European Urban Conservation at Dundee University. After a period as the Buildings Adviser for the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust and five years managing the Arbroath Townscape Heritage Initiative regeneration scheme, he started his work to set up the Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

For ten years Torsten was a Trustee of ICOMOS-UK and member of the World Heritage Committee, which followed five years with the Built Environment Forum Scotland as Trustee and Honorary Treasurer and one year as Trustee of the Council on Training in Architectural Conservation. Currently he is a Trustee of the Cultura Trust, Trustee and Honorary Treasurer of Europa Nostra UK and represents the UK as an Expert since 2008 and Vice-President since 2021 on the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Historic Towns and Villages.

Torsten is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the Incorporation of Wrights at the Trades House of Glasgow, the Merchants House of Glasgow and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Niall Murphy, Deputy Director:

Niall has nearly 20 years experience as an architect and is heavily involved in heritage, conservation and community issues in Glasgow being current Chair of Govanhill Baths Community Trust – the largest meanwhile use in Scotland – and Vice Chair for the Pollokshields Trust – a community anchor organisation set up following the ‘Make Your Mark’ East Pollokshields and Port Eglinton Charrette in 2016 which Niall helped secure funding for. Previously, Niall has been chair of Pollokshields Heritage, Planning Convener for Pollokshields Community Council and a member of the Glasgow Urban Design Panel. Between 2016 – 2018 he was invited by the Minister for Local Government and Housing to be a member of the Development Management Working Group for the Scottish Government’s Planning Review. Niall has won the Glasgow Doors Open Day Excellence Award for Inspiring City Tour (2017), the Glasgow Doors Open Day Above and Beyond Award (2014), the Sir Robert Lorimer Award for Sketching (1996) and, in addition to nominations for Saltire Awards and GIA Awards was nominated for the Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place Award for Civic Champion in 2015. Niall regularly lectures on architecture, heritage and urban design issues.

Maggie Mercer, Finance and Office Manager: 

Maggie, a Biomedical Science graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate in Forensic Medicine, began working for the Trust in 2012. She has always had a keen interest in architecture and studied the subject whilst at University. She is continuing to follow her interests by studying various subjects including WW1:Trauma and Memory, Forensic Psychology and GDPR. Maggie has been in managerial roles for the past 16 years and is an affiliate member of the IHBC.

Lesley Kerr, Building Repair Grants Manager: 

Gemma Wild, Heritage Outreach Manager (Job Share with Rachel Kacir): 

Gemma has over 10 years experience protecting and celebrating the historic environment in the UK, and supporting others to develop skills and understanding within conservation and heritage contexts. After beginning her career in a planning consultancy, she moved to Glasgow in 2007 and has worked for the Scottish Civic Trust and the Scottish Waterways Trust delivering community engagement, interpretation and education projects helping communities unlock the benefits that the historic environment can offer. Gemma is an active Affiliate Member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Gemma is in the office Monday – Wednesday.

Rachel Kacir, Heritage Outreach Manager (Job Share with Gemma Wild):

Rachel is a History and Politics graduate with a postgraduate Masters in Museum Studies. She previously worked for the National Trust for Scotland at the Tenement House, leading on the daily operation of the property and working closely with volunteers. Rachel also raised the profile of the property and broadened audiences through a series of partnerships and events. She is particularly interested in social history and in encouraging communities to engage with the built environment around them.

Rachel is in the office Wednesday – Friday.

Silvia Scopa, Community Engagement Officer:

Silvia is an Archaeology graduate with a post graduate Masters in Museum Studies and a major interest in social history. After living in Italy and Spain, she moved to Glasgow eight years ago. Before working at Glasgow City Heritage Trust she spent four years at the National Trust for Scotland, first at the Tenement House where she managed social media and curated an exhibition  focused on the textile collection, and then for Project Reveal as an Inventory Officer, cataloguing and researching more than 7000 objects, from original Charles Rennie Mackintosh furniture to a collection of tartan samples.

She is the mind behind Ghost Signs of Glasgow and has been coordinating the project since January, with the help of more than 15 volunteers. Although she has dipped her toe in various aspects of heritage and collections, her main goal has always been to find a link between communities and heritage and get people from every paths in life to enjoy Glasgow’s rich history.

Erin Walter, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer:

Erin is an Art Historian, who spent her undergraduate years at Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland. In the summer of 2013 Erin briefly flirted with an interest in Etruscan archaeology, however after an exceedingly hot season on a dig site she retreated to Glasgow to undertake an MSc in Museum Studies. During this degree she became an exhibition research and design intern at GCHT. Her exhibitions focused on Glasgow’s cinemas and cemeteries, places she still has a great deal of time for. Since the internship she completed an MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) at GSA and has since rejoined GCHT as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. Alongside her work at the Trust she is a PhD candidate at Glasgow Uni centring her research on performance art, archives, and the mapping of networks within the city. She occasionally brings her hedgehog, Eugene, to work. 

Gemma Park, Traditional Skills Officer:

Gemma has an Undergraduate degree in Classical History and Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh. Her keen interest in Architecture and buildings stemmed from studying Classical Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, with her final dissertation focussing on the Parthenon of the Athenian Acropolis. During her studies at Edinburgh, she worked as an assistant researcher for the World Cultures Department of National Museums Scotland and then as a Collections Management Assistant for the National Museums Resource Centre. She moved to Glasgow 3 years ago to attain a Postgraduate degree in Museum Studies. Before joining GCHT Gemma worked as a Project Manager, most recently for an architecture and design firm in Glasgow, a role which she enjoyed as it meant her love of architecture was encouraged, and her knowledge of the industry was greatly improved. She also has a passion for public outreach, having written her Masters thesis on the benefits of engagement with the arts and heritage and cultural participation on mental health and wellbeing.

Taylor Cross-Whiter, Development Officer:

Taylor grew up moving between the UK, US and Denmark. As an undergraduate she studied History and received her BA in Portland, Oregon, before moving to Scotland to undertake a postgraduate degree in Architectural Conservation at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to joining GCHT she worked as the Technical Research Intern for Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation Directorate. In 2017 she helped with organising Doors Open Day for Edinburgh and East Lothian, and has worked in a voluntary capacity for the National Trust for Scotland and done case work for the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland. Besides Glasgow’s many architectural gems, her favourite thing about the city is its vibrant music scene.