The Board

Tony Fitzpatrick (Chair)

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.
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.

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.

Kasia Romanowska (Treasurer)

Kasia has been based in Dumfries and Galloway for the last 11 years. She was a History teacher back in Poland and in 2006 she decided to discover Ireland. After the busy environment of Dublin, she was keen to find a green but much quieter part of the world and she moved to Dumfries. While completing her Chartered Accountant qualifications she has been working for Dumfries based accountancy practices for the last 10 years. She is now involved within Third Sector organisations as well as developing small cultural projects. She is passionate about a local community where the sense of belonging and ideas of inclusivity are in the core of 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.

John Denerley

John has lived and worked as a conservationist at the wildlife park in Kirkcudbright (Artists’ Town), Dumfries & Galloway for the last 17 years. He is a strong and charismatic leader with a passion for the British Sign Language community; he possesses a background in politics, education and advocacy and has tremendous energy and enthusiasm for making things move forward. He was a Convenor of the Scottish Council on Deafness (SCoD) to lead the Management Committee in ensuring that it fulfils its responsibilities for the governance of the Council. He worked in partnership with the Director, Lilian Lawson OBE, to achieve the mission of the Council as well as representing the interests of D/deaf and deaf/blind people to the Scottish Parliament on the Cross Party Group on Deafness. He has a personal passion for arts, especially for its ability to bring people from diverse backgrounds together.

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.

Fiona Murray

Fiona has returned to her hometown after gaining experience in a range of UK-wide Human Resources roles, mainly in the public sector.  Professionally she brings experience in team management, staff governance & HR policy, employment law and a particular interest in workplace health and wellbeing and equality.  On a personal level she is passionate about grassroots community engagement and town regeneration.  She works as a Senior HR Business Partner in the health sector.

Linny Oliphant

Linny is an authority in luxury brand development, PR and Marketing and has held Fashion Editor roles on several titles including The Sunday Herald Magazine. A former director at The London College of Fashion, Linny remains a University External Assessor and is specialist in identifying and delivering brand collaborations and an ambassador for linking education with the industry. During her 8 year tenure as Brand Manager, Johnstons of Elgin, she was credited with revitalising the historic cashmere and fine woollens manufacturer, bringing it to the forefront of the international luxury market and delivered the company’s renowned collaboration with Scottish fashion designer, Christopher Kane. Originally from Lockerbie, Linny returned to the the region 7 years ago and spearheaded the development of Annandale Distillery’s state of the art Visitor Centre, delivering the official opening by HRH The Princess Royal and launching the first whisky produced. Currently working on a range of projects, Linny is passionate about the development of creativity and tourism in Dumfries and Galloway, not to mention classic cars, she has this year launched The Love Bug D&G: Classic VW Wedding Cars, Events, Corporate Promotions and Bespoke Regional Tours including a distillery trail and tailor made SWC300 itineraries.

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.

Jimmy Russell

Jimmy is a writer, artist and performer who returned to Dumfries after completing his degree in Scottish history and philosophy at Stirling. In recent years he has done a wide range of heritage and education work, often with a focus on community development and engaging young people. Highlights have included research for Our Norwegian Story; leading the procession at Nithraid 2017; building a giant puppet for the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust; and the ongoing Hidden Histories project based in North West Dumfries. Jimmy joined the board in early 2018, having been involved as a member of both Blueprint100 and The Stove since 2015. He brings to the board his analytical ability, communication skills, and passion for what The Stove does – particularly in relation to Creative Futures and the Midsteeple Quarter project. He also provides the perspective of a young creative person living and working in Dumfries who regularly engages with The Stove’s many activities.

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.