Dr Mitchell has been active in the fields of traditional skills and materials, and digital documentation for several years, and has a particular interest in industrial heritage and the Scottish architectural iron founding industry. Between April 2016 and September 2016, he took on the role of acting CEO for Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in earth sciences and a PhD in architecture. Before joining the organisation, he was managing director of a private firm of industrial heritage consultants and contractors.
He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling, a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and a trustee of the Scottish Ironwork Foundation and the Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery.