Cleo Barnett was born in Papamoa, New Zealand and is currently based between Brooklyn, New York; Auckland, New Zealand; and Seattle, Washington. Barnett is a passionate and dedicated creative whos work and scholarship has been focused around the investigation of solidarity economies, the use of art for community building, sustainability and education. Barnett uses experientail design and lens based mediums to explore and unveil the world around her. Her process starts with research, her surroundings, and a human centered design approach to explore methods of exposure and the poetics of space. 

In March 2016 Cleo was awarded the The Loisaida Inc., Center Fellowship, where she worked as a researcher and artist in residence. In May 2016 Cleo was awarded the Post-Graduate Summer Research Fellowship from New York University, where she continued to work on her book that investigats the use and importance of public and private space.

Since 2009 Cleo's work served as a catalyst for space creation, collaborative cultural production, city wide art festivals, socially engaged exhibitions, and public art programs including First Thursdays, Art Week Auckland and All Fresco in Auckland, New Zealand, as well as an emerging career throughout the United States and internationally. She has demonstrated high levels of competency navigating between private and public sectors, producing city wide campaigns within the fields of art, culture, music and politics.

Cleo graduated from New York Universities Tisch School of the Arts with a masters in Art and Public Policy in May 2016. She earned her undergraduate degrees from the University of Auckland in 2013, double majoring in Political Science and International Business. Today she continues to work as a freelance producer, curator and creative consultant in New Zealand and across the United States.