A LEADING York academic has died after a short illness.

Martin Downie, the dean of the faculty of arts, at York St John University, died on Friday.

In a brief statement, a spokesperson for the university, said: “In the short time he worked at York St John, Martin made a real impact on our community.

“He will be greatly missed by all those who knew and worked with him over the last year.”

Mr Downie was the director of the Liverpool School of Art and Design for six years and was head of product design for more than ten years before leading the transformation team at Liverpool John Moores University known as The Edge Project, which culminated in a new £30 million art and design academy.

The faculty of arts at York St John has 1,600 students studying creative writing, dance, film & TV production, fine art, history, American studies, English literature, theatre, music, music production, product design, media and film studies at undergraduate level. Plus MAs in applied theatre, creative writing, documentary production, film production, fine art, literature studies and music composition and performance.

Prior to teaching at Liverpool John Moores, Mr Downie ran a ceramics company, selling and working in the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Sweden.

Julia Unwin chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust said on Twitter: “So sorry to hear of the death of Martin Downie – a real loss to York and its arts education.”