A fond farewell to our longest serving member of staff

We offer a fond farewell to Claire Davies, Head of Communications and Events, who, as the longest serving member of staff, will be leaving the Association at the end of July to continue her career journey elsewhere.

“To many in our field, Claire Davies has been the face of the Association, and the one constant, over the last twenty years.  Starting as the Association’s first paid employee in 2001 working on the conference in Oxford and supporting the Executive Committee, Claire began a professional journey which saw her rise to lead a number of important and varied areas at the Association including programming, finance, communications and membership.  Claire’s acumen and flexibility made her indispensable to the operations of the Association, and her impressive work ethic and energy saw her contributions to the Association and the subject grow throughout her career.

Claire’s tenure was also marked by an openness to new ideas from colleagues within and outside of the Association.  She was equally adept at working collaboratively and instituting change when it was needed.  With the onset of the pandemic, Claire took the Association into the digital age with her series on writing about art; she previously led the Association’s most recent rebrand; delved into social media, attracting a large following for the Association; and, most recently, suggested the addition of an Art History Festival to our programme to help raise the profile of our subject to a wide audience.

After 20 years Claire’s passion for the subject and the belief that it can change the way we understand the world around us, has not diminished.  She is a fervent advocate for bringing new perspectives into art history—promoting the contributions of women and encouraging diversity and access in all of our work—to help ensure that the field remains relevant, vital and welcoming to anyone who wants to enter it or learn more about art and visual culture through art history.

We give our heartfelt thanks to Claire for her commitment to the Association and her valuable service and contributions to furthering its mission.  While she will missed, we are very pleased that after her long and fruitful tenure here, she will continue her professional development in the new and exciting role of Events and Prizes Producer at the British Academy. We wish her the very best there and will look forward to seeing her at the Association’s and the Academy’s events in the future.”
Greg Perry, CEO

A farewell message from Claire:

“After twenty years at the Association for Art History, and some difficult decision-making, I will be moving on to a new role and to new experiences and challenges. I will be leaving the Association at the end of July to take on the post of Events & Prizes Producer at the British Academy. I’m excited about this new chapter, and pleased to be sticking with arts and humanities events and programmes which I love.

I started working as Administrator at the Association in 2001, when I was the only full-time member of staff in an office with one desk. At the time I thought that it might be a stepping-stone job, but twenty years on, and many memories later I have much to take with me. I have worked with some fantastic people over these years, many of whom have become firm friends, and I have learned so much during this time. As well as professional achievements this time also saw me continue my post-grad education, pursue my own artistic and curatorial projects, and have two kids– all things that have only enhanced and improved the way I work and think.

I have been fortunate to have been involved with enabling the Association to grow and change over the years, and lead on fantastic projects such as two re-brands, new websites and social, huge and exciting international conferences, and a new festival for art history (which will launch in the Autumn). I have worked with some inspiring people and will never forget inviting Okwui Enwezor to talk (and him accepting!), listening to Susanne Lacy’s keynote (and sobbing), dragging Claire Bishop across Brighton, and hanging out with Michael Rakowitz (who is quite possibly the nicest person in the world). And then there was the time when trustees got stuck in the lift in Liverpool (on grand national weekend), and the volcanic dust cloud disruption in Glasgow, the collapsed ceiling in Edinburgh, the sandwich shortage in Reading, and the pork-pie excess in Nottingham, the Newcastle conference that never was, and the epic venture into the virtual that was 2021.

There are too many people to thank, but I will do my best to contact many of you individually and hope to stay in touch with many of you too (always up for a pint in the pub!). It will be very strange and I will miss working with great people and colleagues.

In these past twenty years I have worked so hard, am proud to have achieved meaningful things, and have laughed so very much, I hope that continues for the next twenty.

Cheerio, and I wish the Association and all involved all the best for the future”.

We will also be welcoming new members to the team, so look out for new names and faces.