The Academy is governed by an 11-member Council and supported by our team in Canberra. The team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Academy, working closely with our President and Council to achieve our strategic goals.

The team’s purpose is to inform, connect and inspire the humanities and broader community through the implementation of the Academy’s strategic goals and objectives.

Executive Director

Inga Davis

Inga joined the Academy as Executive Director in February 2023. 

She has nearly 20 years’ experience working in and consulting to the higher education sector, having held senior appointments at the University of Adelaide (Chief Executive, External Relations) and the University of Canberra (Director, Advancement, Marketing and Communications and previously, Director of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office). 

Before joining the Academy Inga held the position of Principal at Research Strategies Australia, where she worked with and for a range of stakeholders in the higher education, defence and health sectors.  

Inga has served as a member of the University of Canberra Council and was a Director of the University of Canberra Union. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations and Information Management) and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Canberra.   

Director, Policy & Research

Dr Kylie Brass

Dr Kylie Brass is Director of Policy and Research. She has a PhD in Literary Studies from the University of Sydney and worked in the university sector in research and teaching roles before joining the Academy in 2009. She oversees the Academy’s research and policy agenda and is co-author of Australia’s China Knowledge Capability (2023) and Mapping the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in Australia (2014).

Senior Policy Analyst

Dr Jon Lane

Dr Jon Lane has worked in the Secretariat’s Research and Policy team since October 2021. From 2007 to 2021, Jon worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including stints in Embassies in Brussels, Honiara, Apia, and Santiago de Chile (remotely), and three years in DFAT’s speechwriting team. This work provided a thorough grounding in the way Australia’s national interests are understood, and are worked out in policy and practice, across government agencies. Jon has a PhD in history, has taught English and Drama in secondary schools, and when working as a journalist in a previous millennium wrote a booklet on Australia’s first 50 Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.

Director, Operations & Strategy

Shane Breynard

Shane joined the Academy as Director Operations and Strategy (part time) in 2021. He is responsible for the overall implementation of the organisational strategy (including as project lead for specific projects), proactive oversight of the performance of the organisation, and promotion of team culture based on values of innovation, excellence, accountability, and professionalism. Shane has worked in diverse strategic leadership roles in the ACT Government, Cultural Facilities Corporation and Canberra Museum and Gallery. From 2008 to 2011 he was Senior Advisor, and latterly Chief of Staff, to the ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.

Communications Manager 

Abra Pressler

Abra Pressler has worked in marketing and communications for over ten years, particularly within the Not-For-Profit sector. Abra joined the Academy in 2023. Previously, she managed the marketing, communications and events for Australia’s scientific Olympiad teams, and worked in marketing and project management in the early childhood education and care sector. 

Abra’s served on the Board of Directors for MARION, including as Chair of the Board, for two years. She’s also an accomplished cultural writer and romance author with her latest novel released by Pan Macmillan. 

Administration & Committees Coordinator

Sophie Chessell

Sophie began her role as Committees and Administration Coordinator at the Academy in 2022. She is responsible for office management and collaboration with our stakeholders on meetings, events and projects. Prior to this she has worked at Canberra Museum and Gallery in a variety of roles focused on museum education and public programming.

Fellowship & Awards Coordinator 

Samantha Tutton

Sam has been with the Academy since October 2021. As the Fellowship
& Awards Coordinator, she coordinates the Grants & Awards program, and
is responsible for the Academy’s Fellowship program which includes the
coordination of the electoral process and compliance requirements. Prior to
this Sam worked for the Australian College of Midwives as their Programs and
Member Services Manager.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.