Deborah Clarke and her partner, Dr. Charlie Carter, have been operating Larapinta Creative Camps out of Alice Springs, since 2003. At that time they were also running supported walking tours on the Larapinta Trail, under the name Trek Larapinta. When they sold the walking tour business in 2008 they decided to focus on the Creative Camps and have been doing that through the winter months since then Together, they make a great team. Charlie is a scientist with a wealth of knowledge about the Central Australian environment and Deb is an artist with a passion for this environment. In 2017 Anna Dakin joined Deb and Charlie to help them with the aspects of the camp that were just getting too hard for ageing bodies. With a strong creative arts and tour guiding background she brings much more to the team than that. Read about us all below.
Deborah’s background is in professional art practice and education (teaching Fine Arts at Tafe NSW and Charles Darwin University NT). Her approach to creativity is broad, working in a variety of media from traditional drawing and painting to digital imaging, photography and creative writing.
An active member of the vibrant Alice art community, she exhibits in Alice Springs and interstate. Her most recent solo exhibition, Palm Valley & Environs was at Olive Pink Botanic Garden in 2017. In 2016 she exhibited at the June Marriot Gallery in Alice Springs, showcasing her many facetted engagement with local flora. Her 2013 exhibition ‘Up in the Air’ at Araluen, the Regional Gallery in Alice Springs was also very successful. Previous shows were in March 2007 at Gallery Gondwana in Sydney and then again in May 07 at Araluen. In between these shows she has contributed to numerous group exhibitions here in Alice Springs, including the prestigious Alice Prize. Her short story writing and poetry has been included in several published anthologies.
Deborah brings to her role as teacher an empathic understanding of the creative process, and professional knowledge of a broad spectrum of art media, including new technology. A willing communicator, and natural teacher, she enjoys the process of helping her students realise their creative potential in whatever medium they choose to work.
View Deborah’s artwork on her website:
Dr. Charlie Carter
Charlie has lived in ‘the Alice’ for 28 years, and is a true ‘Territorian’ but is by no means parochial in outlook. He has a PhD in Biology from Sydney University and despite aspiring to a state of semi-retirement is relentless in his pursuit of information about science, sustainability, politics and the environment. His science degree included botany, geology, zoology and anthropology. He has been a teaching fellow at Sydney Uni, and managed an Arid Zone research station for the Uni of NSW.
He came to Alice Springs to work in Land Management for the Central Land Council. This role and other work as a consultant for Aboriginal organisations in western NSW has given him first hand experience of the cultural interface so integral to life in Alice Springs, and a good understanding of aboriginal issues, culture and politics.
Charlie grew up on a farm in NSW and was given the mandatory education in ‘how to fix something with nothing’ that every farm boy receives. As well as running the camp, ‘hewing the wood and drawing the water’ his years in the arid zones of Australia makes his knowledge and understanding of this ecosystem an invaluable resource. He is an inspiring teacher and orator with many a good yarn to tell around the fire. He is also a good bush cook.
For 10 years he ran supported walking tours on The Larapinta Trail through the West MacDonnell Ranges. Deborah joined him in 2002 which made the job a little easier. Together they make excellent camp hosts, bringing to the task a wonderful mix of art, science, poetry and practicality.
Anna moved to Alice Springs from the UK in 2018, following a six-year love affair with Central Australia, which was sparked by the light of the stars during a brief camping trip in 2012. By 2014, her interest had blossomed and a deep ineffable connection to this place guided her towards the Larapinta Trail for a three week hiking and painting expedition. The profound effect that this experience had on her creative practice led her to The Royal College of Art, where she was introduced to more experimental forms of design on the Information Experience Design masters degree.
Anna has spent time guiding at Uluru, Kings Canyon, and on the Larapinta Trail. She has a developing knowledge base about Central Australian landscapes and cultures.
Anna met Deb and Charlie in 2014, before setting off on her Larapinta hike. A number of years of friendship and correspondence followed, and Anna joined the LCC team in 2018. Anna mostly helps with running logistical aspects of the tour and cooking delicious meals, under the guidance of Deb and Charlie. She loves talking art, and enjoys sharing her outlook on art and life whilst on tour.