Announcing the Resignation of Convent CEO Collette Brennan. 

I am writing to let you know as a key supporter of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation that, our CEO and Artistic Director, Collette Brennan, has resigned to take on a new role. Collette’s last day will be 13th September 2024.

Collette has been with the Convent for close to eight years and has expressed her deep gratitude for the support and guidance she has received from Board members past and present, Convent team and stakeholders during her time at the Convent.

On behalf of the Board of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation I would like to express our sincere appreciation of all that Collette has achieved over the course of her tenure.  We are confident she will treasure her time at the Convent and remain a champion.

Working with a dedicated team, Collette oversaw many significant milestones in the history of the Convent. Some of these include:

  • Restoring and activating two significant buildings, the Sacred Heart ($5.8m) and Magdalen Laundry ($2.7m) for new tenancies and venues.  The opening of these buildings has brought new vibrancy to the Convent and substantially increased revenue through partnerships with federal and state governments, the philanthropic sector, and individuals. The most recent of these important upgrades is the re-opening of the Cork Oak Path.
  • Securing multi-year funding from the State Government through Creative Victoria – a first for the Convent.
  • Taking the Convent through the COVID emergency, including securing $800,000 in State emergency COVID relief funding across 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 to ensure the ongoing operation of the Convent.
  • Developing the plan, securing funding and providing oversight for significant projects – the Conservation Management Plan, a new Master Plan and the Master Plan Business Case, Investment Logic Map and Case for Support, all of which are critical to the future of the Convent.
  • Introducing tenant engagement programs such as the Pop-Up Shop and Convent Made Online Store.
  • Overseeing the addition of the Convent to the National Heritage List.
  • Leading and delivering the Convent’s first curatorial program, creating new and sustained programs focused on First Nations arts, children and families, visual and performing arts, craft and design, and associated public programs, large scale community events and festivals, including Melbourne Fringe, Midsumma, Photo, Melbourne Design Week and Asia TOPA.
  • Increasing diversity across the Convent’s curated artistic program including, the increased presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and presenting programs which are culturally and linguistically diverse.

We are grateful to Collette for dedication to the Convent and community. She leaves a valuable legacy of her work that future CEOs can draw upon.

The Board and the ACF team have ambitious plans for the Convent, building on what has already been achieved. We have begun the recruitment process for Collette’s successor in the role of CEO but in the meantime, we are fortunate to have a very capable team who will ensure it is business as usual at the Convent during the recruitment process.


Gillian Franklin
Abbotsford Convent Chair