AHA People

AHA Staff

At AHA we are proud to operate a completely flat management structure:  we recognise that those who work at AHA come with a high level of professional skills and experience and feel it’s right that everyone is paid the same.  Members of the Core Team (Clare, Jennie, Sarah, Tony and Nancy) work within flexible areas of specialism and jointly share responsibility for the day to day operation of the organisation.

We’re also proud of our long track record of flexible working –– individual schedules are arranged, and rearranged, according to demands of family and personal life.  AHA’s work and the people who make it happen are equally important.


Clare Fisher is an artist working with text and photography, an arts manager and a mother. Clare is one of AHA's two Creative Producers and works part-time. (email Clare)

Clare has more than ten years experience in the industry working in both rural and non-rural contexts.  She was an Arts Activist at Beaford Arts, a Visual Arts Officer at The Plough and worked as a Mentor for NESTA before joining Aune Head Arts as Company Manager in 2005.  Her expertise includes project management and artist liaison, curating and exhibition management and leading workshops for all ages.  She is a photographic artist who works with objects, stitching and text on the surface of the print to introduce new narratives to image-based work, which has been shown in solo and group exhibitions across the region and elsewhere. She has an MA in Photography from Nottingham Trent University, and numerous certifications as an educator/trainer/coach.

Jennie Hayes is a photographer and arts manager. Jennie is one of AHA's two Creative Producers and works part time. (email Jennie)

Jennie has worked for over 20 years in the arts, in local and community arts development, with photography, teaching and research and also with Arts Council England.  She was director of Beaford Arts and has undertaken research on rural participatory arts practice.   She is committed to working in a way which is inclusive and relevant to our local communities.  Until 2009 she taught community practices at Dartington College of Arts and also taught on the MA in Arts Management.  She was a founder editor of the Journal of Arts and Communities.

Jennie moved to Devon from the Midlands in 1998 and lives north of Dartmoor with her partner Nick and son, Euan.

Nancy Sinclair is a photographer and an arts manager. Nancy co-founded AHA with Richard Povall, leads on external relations and works part-time. (email Nancy)

Nancy has been an arts manager for a very long time... Through her original influence the work of AHA is centred around a commitment to be responsive to both people and place.  One of her strengths is in establishing new networks, connections and partnerships between artists, individuals, arts groups, environmental/heritage organisations, local and regional government agencies and others to inform, partner and support the work of AHA.  As part of her work for AHA she was the Award Leader for the MA Arts Management from 2006 to 2010 at Dartington College of Arts (now part of University College Falmouth).  In California she was Executive Director of the experimental visual arts organisation ProArts and later of the performance-based Oakland Festival of the Arts.  She later co-ordinated a major public art programme for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority before managing a three-county arts funding programme for the New York State Arts Council.  She has a Master of Fine Arts from Mills College (California), a Master of Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design (Massachusetts) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Corcoran School of Art (Washington, D.C.).

Tony Walker is AHA's Digital Producer and works with individuals and community groups of all ages and abilities providing knowledge, equipment and training to enable participants to create all aspects of moving image in a variety of projects. These have included filmmaking, theatrical projection, online viral video, animation and facilitating media groups. He has experience of working with young people with challenging behaviour, adults with learning disabilities, people with physical disabilities, schools, homeless and vulnerable people, youth and community groups.

Recently Tony was presented with a Digital Heroes Award at the House of Lords for is work in this field. He worked in the University of Plymouth's Faculty of Arts for 9 years and is also a volunteer with Phonic FM, a community radio station based in Exeter Phoenix..


AHA Trustees

Aune Head Arts Board of Trustees is made up of individuals who have a commitment to Dartmoor, to community and to contemporary arts. Their role is to act as a critical friend to the organisation: to ask hard questions when necessary and to give praise when due. They bring many years of experience between them and are able to hold a slightly detached (from the coal face) view of the organisation and its work.

Unusually for a Charity one member of AHA Board of Trustees is also a member of the staff team. In spring 2011 when AHA adopted new Articles of Incorporation they stated: the Trustees may include one (but no more than one) of the staff employed by the Charity. Since its inception in 1997 AHA has always had staff members serve on the Board and all staff are able to contribute to and attend Board meetings. Staff receive the same updates and information as the Trustees. Once a year the Staff and Trustees have a joint meeting to review AHA’s goals and objectives and to look forward.

Board Members are: Alex Murdin, Hugh Nankivell, Richard Povall, Mary Schwarz (Chair) and Erica Steer. Ex Officio: Gillian Taylor.

Alex Murdin, freelance artist. Alex has been working in the field of visual arts as curator, researcher and artist for over 15 years. Key areas of interest include working with ecologically and rurally led practices in the public realm.

Curatorial projects include a national touring exhibition with the Met Office on art and meteorology working with both international and regional artists. Audience development projects have included smaller shows, particularly targeting rural audiences. Alex has also devised and delivered diverse projects as an arts administrator, addressing professional development, education and marketing for artists and makers. Alex is undertaking a practice based PhD at Dartington College of Arts on the subject of “Art in the public realm and the politics of rural leisure” which will create socially engaged works in a countryside context. Stemming from this research Alex was awarded a Bright Sparks research grant in 2007 to collaborate with the Marine Institute in Plymouth on framing art and ecology projects for the waterscapes of Britain. Alex's website is www.ruralrecreation.org.uk

Hugh Nankivell, composer. Hugh’s work as a freelance musician combines performance, composition, community and education work in a wide range of creative and performance situations. He has composed hundreds of pieces and songs for many different groups and contexts. Hugh has toured with many different groups nationally and internationally, most recently with the puppet company Faulty Optic in France, November 2009.

Hugh's interest in site-specific work has been developed through working with Wils Wilson. He was composer on Mulgrave by Wilson:Wilson and also was award-winning composer for the National Theatre of Scotland's launch piece Home:Shetland Since moving to Devon, Hugh has been developing several local site-specific works through a relationship with Aune Head Arts as one of the Triparks Artists (in residence in Dartmoor National Park) and also on other projects searching for pianos and understanding the local geology. Hugh has also been developing a working relationship with poet Peter Oswald that has resulted in 'Catherine' a pilgrimage performance in Plymouth, a poem/song cycle Birdsongs and a new commission for solo voice and four instrumentalists called 'Solitary'.

He also works with dancers and choreographers and recently composed and performed the music for American choreographer Stephan Koplowitz's outdoor Liquid Landscapes in South Devon (summer 2009) and has developed a close working relationship with choreographers and directors at The Barbican Theatre in Plymouth.

Hugh has a long working relationship with Opera North in Leeds, including the community/professional piece Operaville and the experimental Wax Inspector as well as PRS composer-in-education projects, songwriting projects with teenagers at risk of exclusion and training for singers and players. In March 2010 Opera North are premiering a new song-cycle by Hugh Nankivell working with poet Ian McMillan to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the miners strike.

During the last five years Hugh has been working closely with the Japanese composer Makoto Nomura which has resulted in Whaletone Opera a new score and approach to music-making developed with communities in Japan and England. There will be a UK premiere this autumn in the NE and SW of England. They have also been creating a dance and music project called Keyboard Choreography Collection, which is a collaboration between dancers and keyboard players aged 3-80 that has now produced three volumes of new techniques and approaches. In March 2010 Hugh was appointed as Featured Composer at Dartington Arts for 2010/11.

Hugh lives in Torquay with three children, two guinea pigs and the lovely Caroline.

Mary Schwarz, cultural manager and consultant. Mary is Chair of AHA.

Mary is a freelance arts consultant with a particular interest in continuing professional development for cultural practitioners, participatory arts and evaluation.  She was previously founding Director of the Centre for Creative Enterprise & Participation at Dartington College of Arts, and has held the posts of Community Officer at the then Yorkshire Arts and Arts Development Officer at East Devon District Council.  Prior to her career in arts and cultural management, Mary was first a community worker and then a secondary school teacher, and during the 1980s and early 1990s toured nationally and recorded as an improvising viola player in a variety of groups.

Erica Steer, artist and co-Director of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen

Erica moved to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in March 2008.  She previously held the post of Crafts Officer at Arts Council England South West, where her main role was to shape and inform corporate planning for crafts.  She was responsible for researching the regional crafts strategy the real world/a prospectus for the crafts in the south west which was published in 2003.  At ACESW Erica worked closely with makers and arts organisations throughout the region, and with key stakeholders such as local authorities and national bodies, in order to ensure delivery of regional and national strategies.  Erica started out as a print buyer, employing a team of nine people to devise and present creative solutions for all printed marketing materials.  Her company also managed a design studio and a production facility for screen printing and picture framing.  She is an artist, working mainly with sculpted paper, and has run paper-making classes for adults and children.  As Exhibitions Officer for Paperweight, a national group of paper artists, she was responsible for developing exhibition ideas, finding venues and curating shows.  She has also worked at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery where she assisted with all aspects of exhibition planning as well as having particular responsibility for the production of interpretative materials and the co-ordination of education events.  Erica has a BA(Hons) Business Studies and a MA in Heritage Management.

Gillian Taylor is an ex-officio adviser to the board. She is a musician, artist and Communications Officer for Arts Council England, South West.

At the Arts Council she works with artists and arts organisations to raise the profile of arts in the region and further afield. She works with the media as well as using websites and other communications tools. Gillian was previously employed by Dartmoor National Park Authority where she was responsible for press, publications, interpretation and generally helping people to enjoy and understand the moor. She has also worked for Northants Wildlife Trust, Leeds City Council Countryside Ranger Service and as a research fellow at the Man and Nature Research Centre, Odense University.

As well as playing violin in a number of orchestras in the area, she is the second violinist in the Serenoa String Quartet who perform in small venues in the south west. Their music ranges from classical quartet to African music which they perform with Chartwell Dutiro. She is also a paper artist, creating collections of tiny envelopes and postcard bundles inspired by her interests in communication and insects. Gillian has a BSc in Zoology and a masters in Environmental Resources. She speaks Danish and has an inordinate fondness for woodlice.




Aune Head Arts

Special Announcements

Aune Head Arts is now closed. This website is being maintained as an archive site only. We'd like to say a big big thank you to everyone who was part of our work since 1997.


please email richard AT richardpovall.net

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