Norman Gibson was born in Edinburgh and studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Moray House College of Education. He has had a substantial career in art education, including seven years at Warwick University as Director of the MA in Art and Design Education. During this time he was awarded a Ph.D. in Arts Education, subsequently moving on to Manchester Metropolitan University as Head of Arts, Design and Performance.
Alongside his teaching career, Gibson was active as a designer and sculptor, exhibiting regularly in Scotland and England. In 1997 he returned to his home region of Sutherland to devote himself to his art and to the study of archaeology, an interest which permeates much of his recent work.