Meet The DAAFF Board

Meet The DAAFF Board 2018-02-13T14:08:47+00:00

Franchesca Cubillo

(Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia)

Franchesca Cubillo is a Larrakia, Bardi, Wardaman and Yanuwa woman from the ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory. Until recently, she was senior curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia (2009–12), where she led the curatorial team in developing eleven purpose-built Indigenous Australian art galleries, the largest display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world. She has over twenty years’ experience working in state and national cultural institutions.

Franchesca worked on the major exhibitions Petroglyphs (2003) and Colliding worlds: first contact in the western desert, 1932–1984 (2006) and was co-editor of the book for the National Gallery of Australia’s second National Indigenous Art Triennial, unDisclosed, which is currently touring Australia.

In 2006, she undertook a Churchill Fellowship to investigate international responses to the repatriation of the ancestral remains of indigenous nations worldwide. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Aboriginal Affairs and Honours in Anthropology from the University of Adelaide and is currently undertaking a PhD at the Australian National University.

Franchesca was senior curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture at the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory (2006–09), where she developed the collection, curated several Indigenous art exhibitions and delivery the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Islander Art Award. Previously, she held positions at Tandanya, National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, and the National Museum of Australia. Franchesca was curator of Aboriginal Anthropology at the South Australia Museum for eight years, where she assisted in the redevelopment of the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery in 2000.

She has worked with many Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as well as in communities in the western and eastern Kimberley region, the lower Murray River region of South Australia and parts of north Queensland. Franchesca has presented many lectures and represented Indigenous culture at national and international forums, particularly in United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

Claire Summers
DAAFF Executive Director

Claire Summers was born in Melbourne, Victoria and has a keen interest in social enterprises and economic development strategies for unprivileged communities in the third world. After completed her double degrees in Business (Management/Marketing) and Arts (Sociology and Behavioural Studies) at Monash University, she traveled up to Maningrida, Arnhem Land to gain experience working in Aboriginal communities. She quickly realised that there a great deal of work to be done on improving the sustainability and living conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities without looking abroad.

From 2005 to 2010 Claire worked various roles at Maningrida Arts & Culture (Arts Administrator, Assistant Director and Director) and also was the business developer for the Territory and National award winning “Arnhem Land Eco Cultural Tours”. It 2007, Claire was also tasked with the development and delivery of the 1st Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair – it was a concept that had been born from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and give to Maningrida to bring to life! From 2010-2012 Claire managed the Babbarra Women’s Centre which involved the development of 7 micro businesses that supported the employment of Indigenous women. One of these businesses was a flourishing textile design workshop, Babbarra Designs.

Claire managed the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair event in 2007 and 2008, and then joined the events steering committee in 2009-2011. She was actively involved in establishing the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF), and was elected as one of its first board members in 2012. In April 2013, Claire contracted to DAAFF as the event manager and worked as the sole part time employee until new funding enabled Claire to take on a full time role as DAAFF’s first Executive Director in March 2016.

Claire has been responsible for the growth and development of DAAFF and its four major annual events including an art fair, fashion show, panel discussion and film gala. She has also increased the DAAFF membership to include more than 60 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and peak bodies from across Australia

Philip Watkins
DAAFF Deputy Chair

(Chief Executive Officer of Desart)

Philip Watkins was born and raised in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and is part of large extended Arrernte and Larrakia families.

In August 2011, Philip was appointed the Executive Officer of Desart. Desart is a peak body that advocates for the independence of remote Aboriginal Art Centres in Central Australia, fostering some forty-four Art Centres.

Prior to his appointment at Desart, Philip was employed as the Artistic and Cultural Director of the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – Tandanya (2006-2011). This followed on from a range of positions held at the Central Land Council over a twelve year period.

Currently, Philip is a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation (South Australia) and is a Board Member of the Indigenous Art Code of Conduct Ltd.

Cecilia Alfonso
DAAFF Treasurer

(Director of Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation)

Cecilia Alfonso was born in Chile and emigrated to Sydney,  Australia with her family in the early 1970s. She has  also lived in the United States of America, Africa and Hong Kong in pursuit of her passion for art.  Cecilia achieved First Class Honours in History from the University of New South Wales, and a Masters of Art Administration from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW.  While living in the United States of America she completed an internship with National Portrait Gallery at the  Smithsonian Institute.

Cecilia has been working at Warlukurlangu Artists in Yuendumu since December 2001. Warlukurlangu Artists is Indigenous owned and operated and represents more than 500 artists from the communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. It is one of the largest and most successful Art Centres in Australia.

Christina Davidson
DAAFF Secretary & Public Officer

(Chief Executive Officer of ANKA)

Christina Davidson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA, formally ANKAAA) Aboriginal Corporation – the peak advocacy and support agency for over 5,000 Indigenous artists and 49 Aboriginal owned art centres and artist groups in the regions of: Arnhem Land, the Kimberley, Tiwi Islands and Katherine/ Darwin. Christina works for the all Indigenous board elected from across the ANKA regions which cover over 1 million square kilometres of country in Northern Australia. Before joining ANKA in late 2007, Christina had appointments lecturing in contemporary art and art theory at the universities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Stephanie Hawkins
DAAFF Board Member

(Independent consultant for tourism and regional development)

Stephanie Hawkins has a long affiliation with the Northern Territory with a strong focus on community development. From working at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, in 1999 Stephanie moved to the NT to manage Munupi Arts and Crafts on the Tiwi Islands. After moving to Darwin in 2001 she worked with ANKAAA as Industry Development Officer then as Executive Officer. Stephanie moved into the public sector in 2006 to manage the Indigenous Art Strategy for Arts NT. In 2008 she combined her passions of nature and culture as the Director of Indigenous Tourism Development with Tourism NT. This position recently moved into the Department of Regional Development and Women’s Policy. Stephanie’s qualifications include Bachelor of Arts (Art History and Curatorship), Graduate Diplomas in Applied Science in Heritage Management and in Public Sector Management and is currently studying Law part time at the CDU. Stephanie is also active in the community as President of the RSPCA Darwin Regional Branch; a Director on the RSPCA National Board and most recently a Board member for the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation. Stephanie was a judge for the 2013 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.

Hayley Birchley
DAAFF Board Member

(Tjarlirli Art Manager)

Hayley grew up in Brisbane, studied a Bachelor of Photography at the Queensland College of Art and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Belgium before establishing a career in Melbourne based in communications, arts and community development.

Since 2015, Hayley has been managing Tjarlirli Art, an Indigenous owned and operated Art Centre representing over 200 artists from the communities of Tjukurla, Western Australia and Docker River, Northern Territory. In August 2016, Tjarlirli Art opens their second art centre, Kaltukatjara Art, in the neighbouring community of Docker River to expand access for all artists in the region to regular art making and skills development. Together with the Board of Directors, Hayley has managed this expansion and transition for the Art Centre, solidifying long-term sustainability for the business. Hayley also works very closely with the members of the Western Desert Mob alliance representing artists from the Ngaanyatjarra lands to develop exhibition opportunities, engage youth and deliver more effective outcomes for our artists into the future.

Belinda Cook
DAAFF Board Member

(Mangkaja Arts Manager)

Belinda Cook’s has a vast experience in the field of Indigenous arts and community development. She has worked for some of the largest and most established Indigenous community development organisations in Australia, which have all been governed and taught by Indigenous leaders. Such positions have included: Visual Arts Officer – Curator and Exhibitions Program Frankston Arts Centre, Sales and Marketing Officer at Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Field Officer at Papunya Tula Artists and Youth Development Officer – Community Development at NPY Women’s Council.
Belinda has a Post Graduate Diploma Arts and Cultural Management, Masters of Social Science (International Development), Bachelor of Arts (Double Major – English Literary Studies and Political Science) and a Diploma of Applied Photography.
Her experiences in community development and in recent years in arts and economic development have supported her successes as the manager of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. Her role involves overseeing the economic, social and cultural development of artists and their family from the five language groups of the Fitzroy Valley. Belinda oversees all operations, financial management, marketing and sales, national and international exhibition programs, governance, cultural programs and the strategic planning of the organisation under the guidance of a board of 8 directors representing the language groups of the Valley. She works closely with artists to further their experimentation and development of artistic practice to ensure sustainability and ongoing opportunity for artistic and cultural expression.
In 2016, Belinda was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and will research how other First Nations from around the world operate and market their textile and fashion designs.

Pamela Bigelow
DAAFF Board Member

(Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) Manager)

Pamela Bigelow  is committed to her role as manager of the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA), which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres across far north Queensland and the Torres Strait and invests in culturally strong best practice Indigenous art enterprises.

Pam has wide ranging experience as a Manager across a variety of fields.  She holds a Bachelor of Education with a double major in Art and Science from University of Melbourne. Pam started her career teaching art in Victorian schools and went onto running the Art Program at Melbourne Zoo Education Service. She has experience in training, promotion, advanced team management, and high level project management skills. Working with Indigenous communities in northern Australia for over 25 years, Pam has worked in both government and community organisations, in a range of roles including: Manager of the Indigenous Lead Centre with TAFE QLD, Manager of Wet Tropics Natural and Cultural Heritage Interpretation, the Department of Environment and Heritage and manager of Natural and Cultural Heritage Interpretation with the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory in Darwin.