The Board

Tony Fitzpatrick (Chair)

Tony has had a life-long interest in non-traditional approaches to community and economic development in rural areas and worked extensively with the European Commission as head of an EU-wide network of some 80 rural local and regional authorities across 10 member states. He is currently on the Board of both the Southern Upland Partnership and Moniaive Festival Village, reflecting his ongoing interest in the contribution the arts, cultural and natural assets make to sustaining rural communities and rural energy. He is also a keen, if not professional, local musician. He brings to the Board skills in organisational and people development, networking and a passionate belief in the benefits of collaboration.

Until 2011, Tony was Director for Economic Regeneration at Dumfries and Galloway Council where he was responsible for Planning and Strategic Housing as well as economic development and European and rural affairs. He is a graduate of Strathclyde University Business School. On leaving DGC, he was appointed a Senior Associate Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow Crichton campus where he drove a project to establish the SFC funded Crichton Institute (a research/public policy-focused regional facility). He subsequently became a Director at the Institute until April 2016.

Tina Fiske (Vice Chair)

Tina has been based in Penpont in Dumfries and Galloway for over 10 years. Until April 2016, she was a Lecturer in Contemporary Art and Curating in the History of Art department at the University of Glasgow. Prior to leaving, she oversaw the development of the new MLitt in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art), offered jointly by the University and the Glasgow School of Art. Between 2007 and 2013 Tina was funded by Creative Scotland as Research Associate for the National Collecting Scheme Scotland. In 2013 she initiated Affiliate: Thinking Collections and established the Affiliate Imprint. In both roles Tina worked with curators from 9 public collections across Scotland to develop or enhance their intersections with the contemporary visual arts. She currently sits on the board of Outset Scotland, and is in the process of establishing a small arts organisation based at Cample Mill outside Thornhill.

Michael Bonaventura (Treasurer)

Mike Bonaventura is a trans-disciplinary researcher with wide interests in sustainable development. Over the last 30 years he has held academic teaching and research posts, worked as an individual contributor and executive leader, and pretty much everything in between. He has extensive international experience primarily in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the US as a result of positions with some of the world’s oldest universities, Global 200 corporations, high-tech startups and environmental charities. This chequered past brings to the Board a blend of academic rigour, commercial pragmatism and philanthropic intent.

Nicola Hill

Nicola has lived and worked in Dumfries & Galloway all her life.  Following a career in retail banking Nicola decided to change course and successfully graduated from University of Glasgow (Crichton Campus) with an Honours degree in Liberal Arts – Humanities before joining the LEADER team. Nicola has been with the Dumfries & Galloway LEADER team for 10 years, initially in a Project Officer role and for the past 6 years as Programme Manager. This role has afforded Nicola  an opportunity to develop a keen understanding of rural community development and how to navigate the funding landscape. Nicola also brings experience in board member facilitation and line management skills.

Venda Louise Pollock

Venda Louise (Vee) is a Senior Lecturer in Art History within Fine Art at Newcastle University. Much of her work relates to how art practices and organisations can contribute to place making within urban and rural contexts. She is a passionate advocate of the civic function of Universities and works to create meaningful partnerships between Higher Education and the cultural sector. She sits on the management board of Newcastle University’s Institute of Social Renewal and is also on the board of Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival.

Derek Whitticase

Del is a visual artist specialising in public sculpture. With over 20 years experience he has undertaken a range of large and small, permanent and temporary public art projects. He has worked nationally and internationally on projects in England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Canada and Alaska. With a particular interest in community engaged projects, his work involves a high degree of community collaboration within the creative process.
Del brings experience working in the public realm and in a variety of community contexts. Having served on the board of Glasgow Sculpture Studios in the run up to moving to the Whiskey Bond, he also brings experience of working with an arts organisation during a period of growth and development.

Mike Comerford

Mike is a Chartered Engineer (a designer of ships, boats and other things marine) and a professional Yachtmaster. Mike has worked with UK and Scottish Ministers in policy development in support of shipping, oil and gas, offshore renewables and aquaculture. He has actively supported homelessness, affordable housing and sustainable development work. He was a volunteer director of a marine sustainable development partnership which developed the management plans for the largest marine special area of conservation in Europe (for bottlenose dolphins) and the first ecosystem-led approach to the integrated management of an inshore fisheries area in the UK. The Partnership also created a unique collection of fishermen’s jersey (Gansey) patterns and supported the restoration and use of local traditional boats. Mike is a creative person (musician, photographer, aspiring poet and painter) and a strong supporter of the vision of putting creativity and cultural and natural heritage at the heart of restoring and sustaining communities.

The minutes of our most recent Annual General Meeting (19th December 2019) – can be downloaded below: 

AGM Minutes 2019