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Our People

Ben Whelan

Ben WhelanBen Whelan is a founder and the Managing Director of Sustainable Ireland Cooperative Society Ltd. which initiated the Cultivate Centre in Temple Bar. He was the lead promoter and instigator behind the Greenhouse Centre in Dublin. Ben has developed and overseen Cultivate's programmes and activities over its 12 years of operation. He has taught and published in many areas of sustainability including permaculture, bioregionalism and local economics. He holds a BA from Trinity College Dublin in Theology and Ancient History and an MA in Liberal Arts from Naropa College, Colorado.

Ben is a founding member of North Tipperary Green Enterprise Park and a current board member, a founding member of the Environmental and Sustainable Construction Association (Éasca) and current board member, a Director of Re-Dress (the Better Fashion Initiative), on the governance committee member for the Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland. Previously he has worked as the Coordinator for the Asset Development group at the Cloughjordan Ecovillage and in the development of the overall Strategic and Land Plan for the Eco-Village.

Davie Philip

davie philipDavie Philip currently manages the Community Resilience Programme that developed out of the Community Powerdown Programme in 2010.

Davie was a founding member of both FEASTA: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability and Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd the company behind the ecovillage project in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary where he now lives.  In 2000 he set up the Sustainable Ireland Cooperative with Ben Whelan which trades as Cultivate.  With Cultivate he organises networking and learning events including the annual Convergence sustainable living festival and the Global Green area of the Electric Picnic, Ireland’s largest music and culture festival.

Davie conceived and directed the 'Powerdown Show', a 10 part TV series on how communities can do more for themselves and recently wrote and directed a new short film on resilient communities called ‘Surfing the Waves of Change.’

Davie is a catalyst for the Transition Movement both in Ireland and internationally. From 2009 to 2011 he sat on the board of SEAI, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and currently is a board member of Grow It Yourself Ireland. He chairs the Cloughjordan Community Farm and is active in the education and research working group at Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

Philippa Robinson

Philippa RobinsonPhilippa Robinson has worked as part of the Cultivate team since 2005, primarily as a project coordinator, taking care of the company's day to day book keeping and overseeing budgets. A very capable venue manager she played a key role in the running of both of Cultivates' Dublin Centres - Temple Bar and St. Andrew Street. Hiring out the space and hosting many large events and festivals. Prior to her work with Cultivate, Philippa had established a career as a programme coordinator and researcher in television production, including 5 years at BBC Bristol.

Devyn Olson-Sawyer

Devyn Olson-SawyerDevyn Olson-Sawyer has been working in the sustainability area for over 10 years, beginning with a career in publishing, moving to architecture, engineering, and construction field, and then into training and working with businesses wanting to add sustainability to their company focus. Devyn currently researches and writes programmes in various aspects of the Green Economy, and manages training programmes, including the recent nationwide Green Works programme on Sustainability in the Green Economy.

Mark Colbert

mark colbertMark Colbert began work at Cultivate as retail manager, running the retail space first in Essex Street, and then in Andrew Street.  He also ran the online shop and dealt with public enquiries during this period. During the Green Works Project, Mark's main responsibility was running the Student Admissions Department. He now schedules and curates the live entertainment at Cultivate's tent with Global Green at the Electric Picnic every year and is currently on the research and development team for a new project at the North Tipperary Green Enterprise Park.

Alice Ryan

alice ryanAlice Ryan has worked as a researcher and event organiser with Cultivate for five years. In this time she has organised and coordinated many events, conferences and courses, including events for Cultivate's annual Convergence festival, the Green Building Forum (2006, 2007 & 2008), the Green Building Course (2007, 2008, 2009), and Green Building User Group (monthly networking event running since 2007 to present day). During the Green Works project (2010 – 2011) Alice was responsible for the outreach to community groups promoting the benefits of the project. She organised the 'Better Building' conferences in 2012 and 2013.

Alice also worked as a researcher and writer on the Dynamo Effect project in partnership with Near FM co-financed by the European Commission and Intelligent Energy Europe. Alice produced research / learning materials to support 30 radio programmes exploring a range of issues in the area of sustainability.

Rob Carr

Rob Carr graduated with a MSc. in Multimedia From DCU in 2003 and is a graduate of the DIT Hothouse enterprise programme from which he was awarded a H.Dip in New Business Development in 2005. Rob's background is in digital media and web development, social media, online video and TV production. Rob has 6 years expeience in web development and design is proficent in XHTML, CSS, PHP, MYSQL, Javascript, Photoshop and Flash. He has developed several sites using the Wordpress open source CMS platform. Rob has worked with Cultivate previously as producer and multimedia developer on their BCI funded Powerdown TV Show and Community Powerdown Toolkit. Rob also produced and directed two TV series for Dublin Community TV, 'The Pedal Project' and 'Street Smart Sustainability'.

Most recently Rob has designed and delivered three courses for the Greenworks programme: 'eBuisness for the Green Economy', 'Social Media in the Green Economy' and 'Building a Website with Wordpress'. He is currently working on Cultivate's online Community Resilience project where his roles include web design and development, producer of the 'Surfing the Waves of Change' animation, content manager for all online content (video, animation, text copy) , and social media community manager. Rob has also delivered the 'Building a Website with Wordpress' course for community events such as The DIY Skill Share Festival.

Martin Giannini

MartyMartin Giannini
1973 - 2015

It is with heavy hearts and sadness that we share the loss of our Cultivate co-worker and dear friend Martin Giannini who tragically left this world on Saturday the 25th of April. 

Marty was born in Chicago and arrived at the Cultivate Centre in Temple Bar, Dublin over a decade ago asking if he could be of service. He was fresh from his adventures in Africa and very soon became a core member of our team. Marty played a key role in developing the culture of Cultivate, he understood the importance of collaborative people-centred work spaces that combine visionary goals and hard work in a familial and social environment.

He was an incredibly gentle man with a huge heart and lived a life of service.  From the peace core to his work on sustainability, through his contribution to the international Permaculture movement, his interest and passion for aikido, meditation, and his musical talent, and his critical analysis of economics and politics Marty was an inspiration. 

We will miss his clarity of thought and focus, his warmth, and his compassion. He had an approach to life that was refreshingly straightforward and often hilarious! His dedication in his work with Cultivate and unwavering concentration when in the midst of a project, was a truly enviable quality.

Marty became an irreplaceable part of Cultivate being the central figure in our online communications and the go to person for all new Cultivate volunteers and interns. He was a international man and had a fantastic ability to relate to people from all over the world.

His loss has made a huge impact on all our lives and our thoughts are with Goska, his partner with whom he had set up home in Poland, his family in Chicago and his friends worldwide. He was a very good man in every sense and we are all poorer without him.

Tributes to him from around the world can be found on his facebook page.

Martin's friends are holding a memorial for him in the Harbour Bar, Bray, Co. Wicklow at 3pm, Sunday May 10th. All are welcome.

Rest in peace Marty - you will always be in our hearts.

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