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/Behavioural Studies) at Monash University, she traveled up to Maningrida, Arnhem Land to gain experience working in Aboriginal communities. She quickly realised that there was 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 -2010 Claire worked various roles at Maningrida Arts & Culture (Arts Administrator, Assistant Director and Acting Director) and also was the business developer for the Territory and national award winning “Arnhem Land Eco Cultural Tours”. It 2007, Claire developed and delivered the 1st Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair through her role at the Art Centre. 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 the 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 major annual events including an art fair, fashion show, and in 2020, the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards. She is responsible for growing the Foundation which proudly supports a membership of 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and peak bodies from across Australia.