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 completing her Arts (Sociology/Behavioural Studies)/Business (Management/Marketing) degrees at Monash University, she traveled to Maningrida, Arnhem Land, to gain experience working in an Aboriginal community. Quickly recognising the third-world living conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, combined with their rich art and culture, she committed her career to the development and sustainability of the Art Centre model.
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 Northern Territory and National award winning “Arnhem Land Eco Cultural Tours”. In 2007, Claire managed the delivery of the 1st Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in addition to her role at the Art Centre. From 2010-2012 Claire managed the Bábbarra Women’s Centre which involved the development of seven micro businesses that supported the employment of Indigenous women. One of these businesses was the flourishing textile design workshop, Bábbarra Designs.
From 2013-2016 Claire worked closely with a number of Art Centres across Australia providing business consultation, strategy development support and relief management.
Claire managed the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair event in 2007 and 2008, and then sat on the “DAAF Steering Committee” from 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. In March 2016, Claire was appointed as DAAFF’s first Executive Director.
Claire has been responsible for the growth and development of the Foundation and its activities including the art fair, two fashion shows and an Indigenous curators program. She has also increased the DAAFF membership to include 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and peak bodies from across Australia.