The Desart team is a resource that collectively has extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities, primarily in the arts. We are all passionate about the arts and putting culture at the centre of what we do. We value learning and sharing knowledge, and we’re continuing to build our expertise and better help bring about positive changes.
Our accumulation of corporate knowledge working specifically with art centres in Central Australia is gleaned from over 25 years in operation. Desart staff are directed by an Aboriginal board of directors, who represent the membership.
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 Chief Executive Officer of Desart. 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.
Marlene Chisholm is the Art Worker Program Manager at Desart, a position she has held since 2013. She brings a wealth of experience in education and is passionate about building capacity and increasing employment and career pathways for Aboriginal people in the arts.
Bronwyn Taylor has been the Desart SAM Database Project Manager since 2013. She worked as the Desart Aboriginal Art Worker Program Manager between 2010 and 2011, and as a consultant for Desart between 2011 and 2013. Prior to this she was the Manager of Ninuku Arts Centre (2006-2009). Bronwyn has a BA Art History (Uni of Melbourne) and Certificate IV in TAE.
Nina has been the Finance Officer at Desart since November 2017. She has over 17 years experience in finance roles and has held positions at Alice Springs Town Council, Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra and Trezona Accounting in Alice Springs. Nina holds a Business Management Degree and a Degree in Accounting. She is also currently undertaking a Certificate IV in Human Resource Management.
Penny Watson came to central Australia in 1990 and has worked in Aboriginal arts, tertiary education, digital archives, language projects, and several book projects. Prior to Desart she worked for NPY Women’s Council, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Central Land Council, Tangentyere Artists and Batchelor Institute. She has a B Ed (Art), Melbourne University and B A (Hons) Anthropology, Deakin University
Carmel has been associated with Desart since 2014. She has managed our artist exchange, exhibition and art fair programs in Seoul and Shanghai. Carmel has worked with Aboriginal art centres in the Northern Territory since the early 2000’s. As an event specialist she has worked for the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute and Tal-Kin-Jeri Dance Group. Carmel has a Master of Management (Arts and Cultural Management) from UniSA and a Graduate Diploma in Art History from Adelaide University.