The Board

Melissa Gunn (Chair)

Melissa is a Lecturer in Business & Enterprise with the University of the West of Scotland, based at their Crichton Campus in Dumfries. She specialises in marketing (particularly digital marketing), music entrepreneurship, youth entrepreneurship, project management and community regeneration. She is the Deputy Chair of Prince’s Trust Dumfries & Galloway and mentors 3 businesses. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In her spare time she is a dedicated promoter of local music, running record label/D&G music website Small Town Sounds. The skills that she brings to the Board of The Stove include marketing, business development and project management.

Karen Donald (Vice Chair)

Karen has 25 years experience as an arts administrator in Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway. Her background is mainly in theatre programming but she has a experience of press and publicity, fundraising and events management. She has a particular interest in arts provision for children and young people. Karen was the Programme Manager at the CatStrand and has worked on a number of projects for organisations across the region including Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, The Theatre Royal Dumfries, Creetown Initiative and Environmental Arts Festival Scotland. Karen is a board member of Moniaive Initiative and is also a Director of her family’s garden centre business.

Michael Bonaventura (Treasurer)

Mike Bonaventura is a trans-disciplinary researcher working on projects that broaden engagement in sustainable development.
Over the course of the last 30 years, he has held academic teaching and research posts as well as individual contributor, management and executive leadership positions in the private and third sectors. He has extensive international experience primarily in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the US, having worked with some of the world’s oldest universities, Global200 corporations, high-tech startups and environmental charities. As a result he brings to the Board a blend of academic rigour, commercial pragmatism and philanthropic intent.
His current work includes long-standing roles as a Principal Investigator with ClimateXChange, the Scottish Government’s Centre of Expertise for Climate Science, looking at society’s exposure and vulnerabilities to climate-related risks; as an external advisor to one of the UK Research Councils on the application of data science to solving the ‘global grand challenges’; and as a producer at Museums of the FutureNow, a model for participatory future-thinking.
He holds an honorary professorship in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Glasgow, a doctorate [PhD] in Cognitive Sciences, is a (lapsed) chartered engineer [C.Eng.] and co-inventor of three software patents in knowledge systems. Mike is on the Boards of Creative Carbon Scotland (Trustee), The Stove Network (Treasurer) and Cambium LLP (Lead, Executive Advisory Board).

Juliet Caird

A retired farm vet, Juliet was in practice for many years and then joined MAFF/DEFRA. She has a passionate interest in town centre rejuvenation and in preservation of the beautiful historical buildings in Dumfries, to bring them back into self-sustaining use. Since retiring from veterinary work in 2004, she has purchased old, abandoned buildings around Dumfries town centre, and arranged their renovation to bring them back into use as affordable accommodation for working people and some students. Having been involved in the management of construction projects for 13 years, we believe that her experience will assist The Stove specifically on tour Midsteeple Quarter project, helping us to avoid as many of the pitfalls of the building and landlord business as possible.

Tina Fiske

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.

Tony Fitzpatrick

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.

Carole McCann

Since retiring, Carol has been an active volunteer based at the North West Dumfries Resource Centre in Lincluden where she has lived for the past 30 years.
Dedicated to improving the prospects health and wellbeing of the residents of the North West Dumfries, she is a founder member and Director of the North West Community Café Ltd which provides healthy and affordable meals for the local community. She is also the Chairperson of the Maxwellton North Tenant and Residents Association and Community Connector with the Creative Futures initiative currently being rolled out in the area.
A keen walker, she is a committee member and walk leader with Nithsdale Walking Works Network. Carole brings excellent communication skills and organisational ability to the Stove board.

Morag Paterson

Morag Paterson is a photographer and artist based in the north of Dumfries and Galloway. She exhibits her fine art work in galleries around the world, as well as leading international photography tours and teaching/mentoring locally. Last year she also qualified as a Dark Sky Ranger for the Galloway Forest Park. Morag is also a Community Councillor, a director and trustee of Scottish Tambourelli and has previous experience as the Chair of Dalry School parent Council, and a board member of Destination Dumfries and Galloway. In her spare time she grows her own food, plays tamburello competitively, hikes, runs and cycles. The skills she brings to the board include project management, networking and creative/artistic input.

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.