CLIMARTE is an independent charity founded by Guy Abrahams, Fiona Armstrong and Deborah Hart, and registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. CLIMARTE is an Incorporated Association governed by a Board, and operated by the management team of CEO Guy Abrahams and Executive Director Bronwyn Johnson.



Peter Doherty

For over 50 years, Peter Doherty has dedicated his life to science with a vision to improve global health, well-being and prosperity. He is one of Australia’s most highly respected scientists and the namesake and Patron of the recently opened Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, at the University of Melbourne.

In 1996, Professor Doherty and his Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.

Professor Doherty is a passionate advocate on the need to tackle climate change and the role the arts can play in bringing about a shift in our broader cultural attitude to this issue.

Professor Doherty is the author of several books, including: The Knowledge Wars (2015),
Sentinel Chickens: What Birds Tell Us About Our Health And Our World (2012), A Light History of Hot Air (2007) and The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize (2005).

Maudie Palmer

Maudie Palmer was Founding Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art and TarraWarra Museum of Art and is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University. As one of Australia’s most respected arts administrators Maudie Plamer believes in the power of art to open intellectual space around difficult social and environmental concerns:

“Art can liberate the mind to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Our changing climate presents unprecedented challenges to how we live our lives” says Palmer.

“Art can stimulate our imaginations, as we search for ways to demand new thinking to tackle the polluting habits that threaten our planet.”

CLIMARTE is honoured to have two such distinguished and highly respected thinkers as supporters of CLIMARTE’s mission to harness the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

Board Members

Dr Peter Christoff, Chair

Peter Christoff teaches and researches climate politics and policy in the Department of Resource Management and Geography at The University of Melbourne. He is a member of the Victorian Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation, and member of the Board of the Australian Conservation Foundation. He was formerly a member of the (Victoria) Premier’s Climate Change Reference Group, the Vice President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Assistant Commissioner for the Environment (Victoria). His latest book is Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World (2013).

Marielle Soni, Vice Chair & Public Officer

Marielle Soni is an independent consultant and curator with over 20 years professional arts experience promoting contemporary Australian art within the public and private sectors. Previously she held the position of Senior Art Consultant at Artbank, Australia’s popular Federal Government visual arts support program and collection. Marielle was Manager of Jilamara Arts and Crafts, Melville Island in the Northern Territory, an Aboriginal Corporation and Art Centre supporting local community Tiwi artists, and internationally acclaimed artists. Marielle has previously held the positions of Director and Senior Curator at Alcaston Gallery.  Marielle was appointed to the CLIMARTE Board in 2014. She is committed to building new audiences for contemporary art, champions artists and their practices, understanding the value of a life engaged with fine art, design and the creative process. Marielle has a particular interest in the psychology of collecting, being an avid collector of historical mourning jewellery herself.

Guy Abrahams, Co-Founder

Guy Abrahams
 is Co-founder, former CEO, and current Board Member of CLIMARTE and Director of the Art+Environment consultancy. Guy was a lawyer prior to becoming Director of Christine Abrahams Gallery, one of Australia’s leading contemporary art galleries, a position he held for 22 years. He has held numerous arts positions including President of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association, and Board member of the Melbourne Art Fair and the National Gallery of Victoria Art Foundation. In 2009 Guy received training on climate change communication from US Vice President Al Gore and also completed a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne. He currently sits on the City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection Advisory Panel and Public Art Advisory Panel. Guy is an Associate of the University of Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and a valuer for the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program.

David Leece, Treasurer

David Leece is a founder and Managing Director of Billard Leece Partnership, a group of dynamic architects, based in Melbourne and Sydney, who work Australia-wide. David has over 30 years’ experience in delivering complex institutional projects, including the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and the Perth Children’s Hospital.

David has provided philanthropic support to conservation groups and was one of the initial supporters of Climarte. An active conservationist, David expresses his passion for the landscape through painting and photography, and has undertaken projects in remote areas working with indigenous participants. In a response to climate change, he bought an extensive native forest in West Gippsland which he manages for conservation outcomes.


Bronwyn Johnson
Executive Director

Bronwyn Johnson
has been at the forefront of Australia’s visual arts sector over the past 16 years and has a demonstrated record of successful delivery of programs and events in the visual and performing arts sector. Bronwyn Johnson is currently the Executive Director of CLIMARTE producing arts programs that harness the creative power of the arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.  Bronwyn Johnson is the former Director of Australia’s visual arts flagship event the Melbourne Art Fair and CEO of Melbourne Art Foundation.  Bronwyn Johnson holds various memberships including Board membership of the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Arts Project Australia, CLIMARTE and a Panel Member of the Australia Council’s visual arts export initiative Art Fare.

Fiona Armstrong, Co-Founder

Fiona Armstrong 
works in climate and health communications, policy, research and advocacy. She has a background as a health professional, journalist, in public policy analysis and advocacy. She is an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne, a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, Founder and Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance, and a founding director of CLIMARTE. She is based in Melbourne. Fiona is the author of a number of seminal publications on climate, energy and health including Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action, published by the Climate and Health Alliance and The Climate Institute, and Coal and Health in the Hunter: Lessons from One Valley for the World.

Deborah Hart, Co-Founder

Deborah Hart
is an ‘activist, writer, mother’ from Melbourne. For 16 years Deborah worked in development roles with leading Australian arts and culture organisations, as funding shortages were forcing what she considered important crucibles in a healthy modern democracy to act like businesses by forming ever-closer alliances with industries. In 2006, feeling uneasy that fossil fuel corporations—or the legal and finance industries that serve them—were among the few sponsors standing in the Arts, Deborah left her profession in order to devote more time to climate activism and LIVE, a local climate group that she had earlier founded. Deborah later co-founded CLIMARTE (2010), an independent not for profit body that brings the arts community together to tackle climate change. Deborah volunteers with many not-for-profit environment groups and helped establish ClimActs (2013) to combine spectacle, humour and direct action to draw attention to the climate issue. Deborah wrote Guarding Eden to show how and why highly destructive, polluting industries that built immense wealth and influence last century are now using that power recklessly to protect their profits, and what ordinary citizens are doing in attempts to safeguard nature and humanity’s future.

CLIMARTE gratefully acknowledges:

David Leece and Billard Leece Partnership for their invaluable ongoing support of CLIMARTE.

Cordial Creative for their wonderful design work for CLIMARTE.



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