Meet the team
AA2A is an Arts Council England IPSO, (Investment Principle Support Organisation) a sector suport organisation for the Visual Arts funded through the National Lottery and contiributions from individual institutions.
AA2A is a social enterprise Company Ltd by Guarantee (Company no.7381357)
Wendy Mason - National Director
Responsible for the development of the organisation, initiating and overseeing new projects and raising AA2A’s profile nationally. Wendy founded AA2A, piloting the ‘Artists Access to Art Colleges' project in 1994. She has been self-employed as a designer-maker and visual arts consultant since graduating in 1982. Wendy has worked for several ACE regions since 1991, as a consultant, Lottery assessor and Visual Arts Officer before developing AA2A. Her particular interests are around promoting knowledge of self-employment as an option for students and creative graduates
Mags McLeary - National Coordinator
Mags manages the AA2A host institutions and artists' placements. She is the primary contact for administrators and coordinators at host universities and colleges, as well as all creatives on AA2A schemes. Mags also organises the AA2A specialist self-employment seminars and is heavily involved in much of our promotional work such as social media postings, newsletters, blog posts etc.
Andy Pearson - Business Manager
Andy is AA2A's administrator who helps keep things running behind the scenes. He ensures AA2A complies with its legal, financial and organisational requirements as well as being the main point of contact for email enquiries. Andy also regularly updates the website with new content, manages the Creative Support Group, updates mailing lists and collates artist evaluation forms
Pro Vice Chancellor/Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Chester and previously Head of the School of Arts at the University of Derby. David has a wealth of Higher Education and creative industries knowledge and is a Board member for UK Young Artists and CHEAD. He is actively involved in CHEAD’s Leadership programme to support and develop academic leaders in the art and design education sector. David joined the AA2A Board in 2019 and his specialisms include providing an overview of the Higher Education sector and leads on the ACE Investment Principle of Dynamism
Former Head of Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University (and now Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow), Chris has led three institutions hosting AA2A schemes, Leeds College of Art & Design (now Leeds Arts University), University of Derby and Anglia Ruskin University. He now researches and writes on art history, and is the author of ‘Drawing in the Dark: Henry Moore’s Coalmining Commission’, published by Lund Humphries in 2022. Chris joined the Board in 2015 and helps AA2A with the promotion of the scheme nationally and recruitment. He leads on the ACE Investment Principle of Ambition and Quality.
Previously the Dean of the School of Art, Design & Performance at the University of Central Lancashire. Glenda oversaw an AA2A scheme at UCLan from its introduction in 1999, with their scheme having been consistently rated by artists amongst the top schemes in the country. She is a founder Director of AA2A and her particular role on the Board focuses on advising on our HR, employment and recruitment. She leads on the ACE Investment Principle of Environmental Responsibility.
Originally an AA2A Artist at Portsmouth University before becoming their AA2A Coordinator and going on to be their Research Fellow in Disability Arts. Jon was previously a Council member for Arts Council South West and is currently a Creative Ambassador for the National Autistic Society and an RSA fellow. Jon often claims that his experience as an AA2A artist gave him the confidence to start his artistic career, which has taken him to exhibit at the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall and beyond. Jon is a founder Director of AA2A and his area of expertise is hidden and invisible disabilities with a particular interest in neurodiversity. He leads on the ACE Investment Principle of Inclusivity and Relevance
How did we start?
The AA2A project was set up and has been run by Wendy Mason (National Director) since the initial research was started in 1994, with the full AA2A project being launched in April 1999. The first three years were overseen by NAFAE (National Association for Fine Art Education) with funding from the Arts Council's A4E Lottery scheme and the Crafts Council.
As the remit of the project was extended to cover craft as well as fine art, the AA2A project came under the umbrella of CHEAD (Council for Higher Education in Art and Design) where it remained until AA2A Ltd was set up as an independent organisation with social enterprise status, in 2010.