Debbie Symons was born in Melbourne, Australia. Symons’ formative training was at Victoria College Prahran (VCA) in the fields of painting and printmaking. In 2014, Symons completed her PhD, Anthropocentrism, Endangered Species and the Environmental Dilemma, at Monash University with the assistance of an Australian Postgraduate Scholarship.
Symons’ practice is multi-disciplinary and her work addresses a range of themes, including humanity’s complicated relationship with the natural environment, the dynamics of the global political economy and the effects of consumer culture. With a strong research base in contemporary science and species, Symons utilises databases to investigate the links between these themes, and collaborates with scientific organisations such as the IUCN Red List to facilitate the statistical data pertaining to her works.
Symons is an Associate in the School of Art within the College of Design and Social Context, a lecturer at RMIT, School of Art (Art Enterprise Workshop) and Monash Art Design and Architecture (Collaborative Design). She is currently undertaking an artist residency at Bayside Artist Studio at Billilla Historic Mansion. Her works have been shown internationally and nationally; International Urban Screens Association, Galerie Prodromus – Paris, The Streaming Museum – New York, ZAZ10TS – Times Square in New York City, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, RMIT Gallery, [MARS] Gallery, Linden New Art, South Australian Museum, Albury Digital Outdoor Gallery, Craft Victoria, Trocadero Art Space, Shifted Gallery, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Carlton Connect Studio, Monash University Faculty Gallery, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Incinerator Gallery, RMIT Project Space, and The Substation.
In 2019, Symons’ was awarded the Copyright Agency’s CREATE grant to create Sing. In 2015, she travelled to Paris as part of the Australian representation in ARTCOP21 with financial support from CLIMARTE and Creative Victoria. In 2014, she was awarded the [MARS] Gallery Exhibition Prize in the inaugural Linden Art Prize and in 2015, Symons’ was awarded the inaugural grant and residency at Creative Spaces: Carlton Connect Studio, LAB-14, Carlton. Funded by the City of Melbourne for CLIMARTE’s Festival: Art + Climate = Change 2015 (Feb-June). Symons’ was awarded the Emerging Artist New Work grant from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2009.