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 Chair Peter Christoff, Vice Chair Marielle Soni, and Executive Director Bronwyn Johnson.
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).
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 curator and art consultant with over 20 years professional
arts experience promoting contemporary Australian art and artists. 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.
Bronwyn Johnson, Executive Director
Bronwyn Johnson is one of Melbourne’s leading arts producers. She has produced major street theatre and performance art programs for the Melbourne International Festival for the Arts, the opening of the Southgate cultural precinct, the Green Mill Dance Project before developing the not for profit Melbourne Art Fair into one of the leading visual art events of the Asia Pacific from 1996 to 2012. This approach to the arts transcends disciplines and brings artists to the broader public in socially, politically and environmentally engaged contexts. Bronwyn Johnson is the Executive Director and Board member of CLIMARTE producers of the biennial ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE festival and is President of Arts Project Australia a supported contemporary art studio and gallery for artists with intellectual disabilities based in Northcote.
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.
Guy Abrahams, Co-Founder
Guy Abrahams is Co-founder, former Chair and CEO, and current Board Member of
CLIMARTE, and Director of the ART + ENVIRONMENT consultancy. Guy is an Associate of
the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and a valuer for the Australian Government’s
Cultural Gifts Program. He was recently Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Art & Heritage
Collection Advisory Panel and a member of the Public Art Advisory Panel. Guy was a lawyer
before becoming Director of Christine Abrahams Gallery, one of Australia’s leading
commercial art galleries. He was 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 he completed a Master of Environment (climate change
politics & policy) at the University of Melbourne and received climate communications
training from US Vice President Al Gore. Guy is an active advocate for urgent action on
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 arts-focussed activist, writer from Melbourne. After 16 years working in
development roles with leading Australian arts and culture organisations—as increasingly
neoliberal government policies were forcing important public organisations to form ever-
closer alliances with destructive industries they exist to critique—Deborah left her profession in order to devote more time to climate activism. Deborah founded LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment, 2006) and later co-founded CLIMARTE (2010) and ClimActs (2013) to harness the creative arts and combine spectacle, humour and direct action to draw attention to the climate emergency. Deborah is the author of Guarding Eden (Allen & Unwin, 2015) which tells inspiring personal stories showing 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 can do together to safeguard nature and humanity’s future.
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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