Our Board


ANCA is run by the tenants through a well-structured board, a range of specialised committees and a paid administration.

The ANCA Board controls and manages the business affairs of ANCA. The Board is made up of:

  • 2 x tenants from the Mitchell campus – elected by the tenants from that campus
  • 2 x tenants from the Dickson campus – elected by the tenants from that campus
  • 3 x non-tenant members as appointed by the ACT Chief Minister
  • 1 x former ANCA tenant (elected by the board)
  • 1 x non-tenant member with necessary professional expertise (elected by the board)

Tenant members are nominated and voted in at the Annual General Meeting.

The officers of the Board include: Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The members taking these roles are elected by the members of the Board at the first board meeting following the AGM.

CHAIR – Denise Higgins

Denise Higgins is a professional visual artists and been an ANCA studio artist since 2012. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2007 and was the recipient of many awards including the Canberra Critics Award in 2013. Denise’s practice focuses on installation work, which she conceives of as both process and as encounter in which she is sculpting with space, time and awareness. Her work concerns immersive and experiential encounters – that draw on diverse materials and media. There is a sense of a performative dimension in these experiences as they present ‘space’ and seek to engage the audience as participants. Over the last three years Denise Higgins has developed and exhibited several bodies of work for installation, that combine various energies – light, sound and movement. The works manifest a range of material and metaphorical preoccupations based on encounters with otherness, other wheres and with metaphysics been an ANCA tenant since 2012.
Chair Role (pdf)

TREASURER – Coming soon

Treasurer Role (pdf)

SECRETARY – Sean Davey

Sean Davey is an independent photographer and artist. Sean’s photography is centred around a strong interest in documentary and observational practice. With a background in photojournalism and newspaper photography, Sean is an intent observer of daily life, and his work often incorporates a factual documentary approach with personal expression. Sean has self-published portfolios and books of his photographs and has been exhibited in many of Australia’s top galleries and artistic institutions. Sean’s photographs are held in the collection of the Museum of Australian Democracy, the National Library of Australia and the State Library of NSW. In 2011 Sean founded The Photography Room, a gallery dedicated to the promotion and exhibition of contemporary photography. Sean is regularly commissioned by media and art organisations, corporate clients, non-for-profits and government departments, as well as being a photographic teacher and mentor.
Secretary Role (pdf)

DEPUTY CHAIR –
Oliver Ayrton

Oliver Ayrton has been an ANCA tenant since 2012. He is an emerging artist who is inspired by the great tradition of sculpture: figuration. He works primarily in clay, modelling detailed forms, then making a mould and casting into a durable material such as bronze, cement fondue or plaster. He graduated from the ANU School of Art in 2011 with Honours. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist in Residency at the ANU School of Art where he was able to develop his bronze casting skills. In 2008, he won a DEEWR scholarship to study at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, where he was able to under‐take three months of intensive life modelling training.
Deputy Chair Role (pdf)

Sara Freeman

Sara Freeman grew up in Melbourne, originally studying music at the VCA, then left the viola behind and traveled through most of her twenties, spending time living and painting in Europe, Japan and India before moving to the NSW Far South Coast in 1995. In 2006 she completed a BA with Honors in Print Media and Drawing at the ANU School of Art. Sara is represented by Anita Traverso Gallery in Melbourne and works part time as a paper conservator at the National Library. An ANCA tenant from 2006 – 2012, she now paints from a studio at home.
Past Tenant Role (pdf)

Susan Taylor

Susan graduated from ANU with a Bachelor of Arts/Law in 1993. After ten years working as a Commonwealth government lawyer, in 2004 she opened her womenswear boutique Department of the Exterior in Manuka to bring the best of Australian and New Zealand independent fashion design to Canberra. With her husband, she collects non-objective art and contemporary jewellery, and established an in-house gallery, Spare Room 33, in 2013 as a venue for periodic exhibitions of works from their collection.
General Member Role (pdf)

Bill McCarthy
Ministerial appointee / Legal advisor

Bill has extensive experience in administrative law and has practiced in the ACT in both the public and private sectors. An Associate Member of ANCA since 2008, Bill has a keen interest in the arts both as a collector and patron and in advisory roles such as those held at ANCA and previously at Studio One, Megalo Print Studio and Muse. In his current capacity at ANCA, Bill draws on his experience as a practicing lawyer, providing sound advice on ANCA’s legal rights and obligations.

Neil Hobbs
Ministerial appointee

Neil is a FAILA registered Landscape Architect and founding partner at Harris Hobbs Landscapes. An alumni of the University of Canberra, Neil specialises in commercial and government sector projects ranging from preliminary design through to documentation and construction. Neil has participated in a number of allied organisations, including membership to the Governing Council of the Gallery of Australian Design. He is twice the Past National President of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and has served as a member of the AILA National Council for nearly a decade.

Peter Irving
Ministerial appointee / Financial advisor

Peter has been working as a chartered accountant since 1980. Peter has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of many Canberra arts organisations, having been the auditor to most (including ANCA since 1994) and from his advisory roles such as those held at ANCA and previously at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. In addition to his financial skills, Peter brings enthusiasm and attention to detail to his role on the Board, contributing to business planning, risk assessment and advising on ANCA’s budgets and finances.

Kate Smith

After completing her honours year at the ANU School of Art in 2012, Kate spent several years making art perched in other people’s homes: her parents garage, a desk in her bedroom and her wife’s garage. When she moved into her ANCA studio in 2015, she discovered the luxury of having an actual studio. Kate is very keen to see ANCA continue to be a functional, affordable and laid back studio complex.
Her art practice is centered around nature and landscape and has impressively held six solo exhibitions as a prolific emerging artist. Past projects have included following in the footsteps of explorer Charles Sturt through the arid outback, creating fauna illustrations and depicting the post-bushfire landscapes of the Blue Mountains.