Reviews, reflections, critiques, whatever form they take, give us a reference point to come back to as curators, artists, students and researchers. They allow the work to have a longer life and enable the concepts discussed within to be built upon by others in the future.
Traditional cultural knowledge from indigenous communities has long been treated as being in the public domain, all over the world. Objects created by indigenous communities often hold sacred and spiritual importance, yet existing Anglo-American copyright law lacks consideration for these cultural values, and legally these artefacts are deemed to be in the public domain.
I learnt that art is able to offer positive solutions by not just empowering women with elegant dresses but showing videos, photos and objects of beauty when there is suffering and giving insight and understanding to refugee and political crises.
Pay the sisters the same as the misters. It’s a simple concept – that women should be paid equally to men. It’s the law, and has been since the Equal Pay Act came into existence in 1972. But here we are, 45 years later, and women are still earning less than men.
The Kōtuku Emerging Leaders project is one of three initiatives developed by LIANZA to strengthen the library and information profession in New Zealand and was launched as a result of member feedback in 2012.
With my part of the project completed, I’m left with the question: who are these institutions for, and who are they serving, if not projects like this one? When talking about leadership, GLAM institutions should be enabling people and communities to lead their own projects as much as they should be leading themselves.
Talking to colleagues and friends it seems many of us have some kind of leadership epiphany in this sector. It might be the moment they realise they do or don’t want to move up the ladder, or the moment they realise “oh shit I am a boss now”. My leadership epiphany was less a “what I want to do” moment and more of a “oh hell to the no” moment. It came as I sat looking at the leadership team of the council I was working for - the CEO, COO and CFO (essentially the people who made the big decisions)...
At my high school, prefects and the head girl and boy were voted into their positions by classmates. When I was called into the headmaster’s office and told that I’d been chosen to be head girl for 2006, I was deeply shocked to be chosen. I don’t say this to humble brag (because really, who cares about a high school ‘position’ 10 years later? Not me) but because it was my first experience of being a leader, and opened my eyes to the fact that perhaps this quite traditional form of leadership wasn’t for me.
I love pretty much anything GLAM related, and the National Digital Forum is no exception. This year’s NDF was my second time there and I wasn’t disappointed. My biggest take-away this year was around the need for continuous professional development.
“Museums are curiosity machines” said Seb Chan, and judging by how popular this comment was on twitter, National Digital Forum attendees very much agreed. So how can this curiosity, of the staff and the visitors, be fostered? Let’s work our way through this.
As part of my postgrad I did a bunch of research and thinking about social media, ruminating very seriously about its democratic potential for museums to engage with their audiences and share knowledge, smashing the hierarchies of old and ushering a new era. This was a while ago now, when social media still had a utopian glint in its eye, peddling its potential before the rest of the world worked how to make money from it.
Crowdfunding has created exciting opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs, but what sort of opportunities does it offer to GLAM institutions? I believe crowdfunding provides a way for museums to engage with communities and interest groups and give those communities a sense of ownership of a project from the outset of the project.
To look at it in terms of who it represents, the internet provides a broad and deep snapshot of contemporary Māori life. The accessibility it affords us to understand our people as we are right now is unsurpassed. It is therefore imperative that we find ways to record how we are living online, and it is through this representation that we may avoid some of the gaps in knowledge that were perpetuated by our collecting forebears.
The New Zealand Fashion Museum (NZFM) is New Zealand’s first specialised fashion museum and it presents a radical new model for museums. Founded in 2010 by Doris de Pont, the NZFM is dedicated to documenting New Zealand fashion. This includes New Zealand designed garments, garments manufactured in New Zealand, as well as those worn by New Zealanders.
My manager @adamrmor and I were recently discussing the difference between his use of Twitter and my own. He’s a professional user and I’m a sharing professional.
I was recently reading an article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, of all places, in which a “personal digital brand” was defined “as a strategic self-marketing effort, crafted via social media platforms, which seeks to exhibit an individual's professional persona” (Kleppinger & Cain, 2015).
In our industry, we're very careful to rely on thoroughly-vetted primary resources, which is important when producing an authoritative text. But I am also learning that it is critical not to second-guess the value of more "informally acquired" information, which can provide a different kind of insight to that gleaned from a published work.
For many GLAM professionals, the Museums Aotearoa/Australia conference is seen as the main forum to network, engage with current practice, and generally feel galvanised by the sector we work in. Expand your focus and you’ll find smaller, subject-based events which are more accessible yet still provide meaningful opportunities for connecting and learning.
I was looking forward to meeting scholar and keynote speaker Robert Janes at MA16 in Auckland. But I respected him even more for not showing up (physically). Janes beamed in from Canada and explained that he would have loved to visit New Zealand, but did not want to contribute carbon emissions by flying across the world. I respected his integrity.
A conversation about neutrality is a discussion about a certain strategy to encourage inclusivity in GLAM institutions. It is not the only strategy which can achieve this, however, and if we are limiting the discussion to neutrality it limits which institutions can participate, excluding innovative, new institutional models for cultural centres.
doubt I am alone in the feeling of unease I get when it comes to exhibitions about war. By nature, wars are problematic and so it comes as no surprise that exhibitions about them will be too. Wars are messy, traumatic, have multiple viewpoints, and deep personal connections for so many people. Are we making connections between what happened one hundred years ago with what we are witnessing right now?
These past months have been charged with a sense of curiosity and grappling - of how to make sense of an emergent identity that has been more than a century in the making. These thoughts have cumulatively left me in a state of cloudy euphoria dampened only by an incapacity to turn words into action.
Now is not the time for neutrality. I recently saw a post by the imitable Quann sisters (if you love fierce women who also have the fiercest sense of style you’ve ever seen, then you need to check them out) that points to a very simple reason why we need to reject neutrality...
It was Oscar Wilde (via Lord Darlinghurst) who defined a cynic as someone “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”, and dealing with such cynicism is a fact of life for the GLAM sector – the value of what we do is questioned, our funding is cut, and proposed new initiatives are dismissed by people who do not fully appreciate the value of them.
Continuing on from our Museums Australasia panel discussion, here are Matariki's answers to the prepped follow-up questions. 'Tis always good to take some time to chill, ohmmm out, reflect, and dream of a brighter future.
Continuing on from our Museums Australasia panel discussion, Nina answers some follow-up questions about finding a foothold in the sector, the importance of language and the possibilities for an entrepreneurial cultural sector....
From Moana Jackson and David Garneau’s opening keynotes to Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei leader Taiaha Hawke’s closing words, this year’s Museums Australasia was the first time I had seen a conference bookended by indigenous challenges for positive change. Moana’s reference to author Patricia Grace’s statement that ‘books are dangerous’ was a key point as he calmly took us through his thoughts on how those with ontological power are the masters of all things. Through this thought he asserted that museums can also be dangerous; who are they naming and who are they silencing?
Recently Alex Christopher, from Australia, presented a paper as part of a panel at the Museums Australasia conference. The panel was called “Just doing it” and Alex presented about her ph.D. research “Tomorrow’s Art Museum and Gallery Professionals”, which posited that “The wilderness years” – between study and landing a role in the sector, should be better considered.
Once, when searching for a particular object on a high up shelf in the midst of a collection store, I came across an object that was mysterious to me. Its round amber body and darker outer ring made me think it was some sort of stone. Curiosity got the better of me and I took it with me back to my desk to look further...
This post is in response to Matariki Williams’ thought-provoking observation Being brown in your gallery, published here on Tusk. Matariki’s post reiterates how contentious Jono Rotman’s Mongrel Mob Portraits are, and the difficulty that public art galleries have in being socially inclusive. I would like to comment from the perspective of social inclusion in contemporary art exhibitions and corresponding public art galleries (so you’re aware, I identify as female and Pākehā, among other things).
Talking with friends after the Four Waves of Feminism conference, we attempted to articulate our feelings about the day. Nina best summed it up for me with: “It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I don’t know what I was expecting.” When Courtney used the metaphor of the four waves of feminism not being consecutive but instead being waves that came in, crashed, receded and left traces of themselves; it was the closest interpretation to what I expected the day to be like.
Even before I started working at Te Papa, I loved the work that Ati was doing - who else can pull of events as distinct as a drone race festival and a rooftop party at the museum? This doesn't even cover the huge amount of mahi that he's undertaken over the last few years with his collective Kava Club either. Aside from all of that, he's a link home.
Like the last two Tuakana profiles, this week's is bitter-sweet being both a welcome and a farewell. Michaela has been at the helm of the Documentary Heritage team (also known as Information, Library and Enquiry Services, but that's a mouth-full) at Auckland Museum for the last 5 years and my boss for the last 11 months. All good things must come to an end however and Michaela has heeded the irresistible call of home and whanau so will be saying adieu to her Auckland Museum team next Friday...
To have a manager who works in that way is to work in a refreshing and empowering environment, and it is an approach that speaks to the core of what a tuakana / teina relationship looks like. Aside from that, he has been a staunch advocate for the furthering, expanding, and exploding of what mātauranga Māori is, and can be, in a museum sense and wider. His approach has always been one of attempting to understand all people involved in a kaupapa, a true sign of empathy.
Today's Tuakana is both a warm welcome and a sad farewell. I (Nina) have been lucky enough to work with Whina for the last 9 months at Auckland Museum. In a few weeks we say goodbye to her as she journeys back North to take up the role of Curator and Manager at Te Ahu Centre in Kaitaia. Her knowledge and passion for the sector is immense and infectious. What I will miss most about Whina though is that she always, always places people at the center of her work and with this always seeks the emotional core of it...
One of the best parts of working with Paora is that you get to work with someone with a hugely empathetic approach to things and when shit hits the fan, he's always got a one-liner to diffuse the situation. Another thing about Paora, he's always got recommendations up his sleeve, if you need a new book / movie / tv show / kai / beer to try out, go see him. Nō reira, e te tuakana, i runga i ou mahi manaaki, ngā mihi nunui ki a koe.
Today's Tuakana is someone I (Matariki) had the pleasure of meeting in digital fora, both online and offline. My impression of Chris was formed through the interactions we had through twitter where I admired his fierce advocacy for kaupapa Māori viewpoints peppered with the technological aspects of his role. Ki a koe e hoa, ka titiro au ki ngā ara whakamua i mua i a mātou o NDF me ngā mahi kei te haere. Pai ki au te noho ki tō taha, ki te mahi tahi māua mō te whānau o NDF, ngāi taua hoki.
We've wanted to nab this Tuakana for quite some time so this week we're super-duper stoked to welcome Roy Clare to our Tusk whanau. When I (Nina) started working at Auckland Museum in October last year, Roy had just announced his departure. It felt like a loss for our sector but the legacy he left continues to this day. I feel like I stepped into a healthy workplace. One that is complicated yes, but one that feels like it's heading in the right direction...
Today I (Nina) am really happy to share the musing of Simon Moody, my former manager from my happy days at the Air Force Museum. Before I went to work as an Archives Assistant at the AFM, I wasn't really sure if archival work would be a long-term thing. I always imagined I might seek out ways to return to fashion and textile work in museums - my first love. But something changed in me while I was down there, and it wasn't just realising that I didn't actually hate living in Christchurch
I am incredibly fortunate to have met Jamie right at the start of my career in the sector (I told him I’d clean toilets and wash windows at the Cricket Museum if he’d take me on as a volunteer – thankfully my janitorial skills remain untested!). Jamie has provided me with guidance and insight on the vast range of challenges that the Director of a small museum has to deal with on a daily basis, from collection management to facilities management, and everything in between!
Migoto is someone I've actually known for over ten years now as she was my te reo Māori lecturer way back in 2005 (showing our ages!). In more recent times we have become colleagues, working as curators together at Te Papa where Migoto and I have worked closely together and she's provided a whole bunch of moral and curatorial (and emotional haha!) support.
I (Nina) first met Bev years ago when she was at the Dowse and I was at MTG Hawke's Bay. I spent a couple of days in her storeroom wrapping (literally) thousands of ceramic pieces to go into an upcoming Bronwyn Cornish show. Over those few days I remember thinking I'd love to work with her one day. Creepily, I also remember that she had a great outfit on (which is always a good start)...
I've never worked with Fiona but I know she is part of the wider, welcoming and enveloping National Digital Forum whānau who have been so supportive of us here at Tusk. In all of our interactions, Fiona has been gracious with her time and infectious with her energy, and having someone like her believe in the mahi that we do at Tusk, and in our day-to-day jobs, is really emboldening. So, thank you Fiona, we look forward to continuing to work with you!
(Nina) first clapped eyes on Janneen during the 2017 Museums Australasia conference. She spoke to a full room eager to hear about mana taonga around her role in helping to create the exhibition Kōrero Mai Kōrero Atu at Auckland Museum. But more specifically her discussion was all about the amokura, or red-tailed tropicbird. To get the full story of Janneen's re-discovery of these birds and their feathers in the Museum's collection and what they meant for the exhibition you should read her piece in The Pantograph Punch...
Chanel is someone who has always had a presence in my (Matariki) time in the sector, but due to time and space, I've only ever met her a handful of times. With her whakaaro below, Chanel touches on some concerns I have also had about the value of the sector for people who have pressing issues. But, as is the way with so many of our tuakana, Chanel remains optimistic. So we take that lesson, and thank you for it. Ngā mihi nunui Chanel!
For our first Tuakana of the year, I'd like to introduce one of the backbones of our mahi here at Te Papa: Martin Lewis. With every little query we have, Martin has suggestions pouring at us before we've even begun. Aside from being an absolute whizzbang gem of a librarian, he's a genuinely kind and warm person. I've held numerous positions and internships at Te Papa over the past 8 years and Martin's friendly face and supportive ear has been a constant, so thank you Martin.
Claire's comment below (spoiler alert) about working in a multi-generational way is one of the things I like best about working at Te Papa. Having folk like Claire around to work with means I get the chance to work in a (to steal from the tuakana header) reciprocal way every day. In my short time at Te Papa, Claire has worked inclusively and enthusiastically.
Sean has been an unassuming and ever-supportive presence during my time in museums. I first came across his work as a plucky museums studies student where I was introduced to his take on contemporary collecting and promptly had my mind blown. His gentle reproach of museums' continued focus on portraying Pacific people through 'traditional' taonga was part of what spurred me into the research direction I've since undertaken.
I (Elspeth) have been lucky enough to have Siren as my manager since February 2016, and what a manager she’s been. Passionate, enthusiastic and with high expectations of her team, she has been an incredibly inspirational leader and a tireless supporter of best collection management practice (even when faced with rather less enthusiastic colleagues!) Siren has the remarkable ability to make whoever she is talking with feel like the most important and interesting person in the room, and her dedication to exceptional collection management rubs off on all around her...
Katrina was the only Māori working at The Dowse when I started an internship there. Unfortunately this is not uncommon in the cultural sector, but fortunately whanaungatanga is a powerful beast, constantly reminding us to look after one and other. Katrina epitomised Dowse hospitality and backed me, as all tuakana do, by being a boss. She dresses like a boss and demands respect like a boss and is an all round boss of a human.
I first met Mish on the bus home from a Vic Uni Museum Studies 'soiree'. Later that year I ended up working at Ngā Taonga with her and she was my go to person - for laughs, singing and excellent advice. Mish has a depth of aroha which she tirelessly pours into her communities like Pacific Underground, Kava Club, and year after year she rallies the troops and showcases Pasifika film and filmmakers at the ever growing Siapo Cinema. She makes me and my friends feel valued, supported and inspired. What a tuakana!
I (Matariki) first got to know Liz through the paper trail she left behind her at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. We then finally got to meet one another at the FIHRM conference last year where we were speaking in the same session and on the same panel. Being both so full of nerves, we managed to find each other before the panel and have a hug. And then we laughed a lot. Because that's what you do when you're nervous but it is also what you do when you're with Liz, you laugh!
When thinking of Leanne's I came up with the awesome portmanteau of 'Tūhoekana' as she continues my work tradition of working with Tuhoe big sisters who know the pull of home, what keeps us in the cities and crucially, have my back. Leanne is supportive, fun, funny and always up for a good rant. More importantly, Leanne is thoughtful and empathetic and knows the power of a good de-brief over kai. I miss working with her immensely but hopefully we can stir up some good cross-sector mahi. Byeeee Felicia!
From our Formation columnist, Jess Aitken: During my time in the sector so far I really have been spoilt in meeting some incredible and inspirational women. Rowan offered me my first proper collections project at the Police Museum and I returned for more during my first year placement. For me, Rowan has been the definition of a tuakana: offering words of encouragement and support, helping me trust in my abilities and just being one of those ridiculously clever, cool and articulate people you are eternally grateful to have met.
This is a hard one for me (Matariki) as the reason it's going up is that this will be my last week working with Matthew who has been my manager for the last 5-ish months at Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Matthew is the kind of manager that believes in his employees' abilities and has established a culture that enables us to work to our strengths. The environment that he has created for us is supportive, interesting, and importantly, it is fun.
You know when you meet someone and you feel like you've actually met them before because they are just so damn lovely? I (Nina) met Chris last year at the National Digital Forum at Te Papa. We were sat next to each other going - "you seem familiar...," "you seem familiar too..." From that serendipitous meeting, Chris has been one Tusk's biggest supporters- full of tautoko and always ready to engage with us and to spread the good word.
Nina and I first met Tamsin during the golden time, back in 2013, when I was on my final placement and she was working a contract at Wellington Museum (formerly Museum of Wellington, City and Sea). Tamsin was my supervisor and was always a calming and supportive presence. Lately we've had a chance to reconnect with Tamsin through the Museums Australasia conference and the wonderful Attic exhibition at the museum. It has been a good reminder of how many good people there are in the sector and why we want to remain.
We were recently given a golden line that perfectly summed up the Tusk kaupapa: "More voices enable us to normalize a culture of constructive criticism." The line came from Te Tuhi's Senior Curator Bruce Phillips and though it wasn't in direct relation to our work, we thought it was to good to pass up.
There is no doubt that Victoria Leachman’s enthusiasm for copyright is contagious. As the Rights Advisor (or unofficial Copyright Queen) at Te Papa Tongarewa her passion for facilitating access and reuse of collections is infinite. Her personal agency gently encouraged Te Papa to embrace the Open GLAM philosophy, resulting in Te Papa to be amongst the first institutions in New Zealand to offer freely downloadable images.
Lissa is not someone who I (Matariki) have known for very long, as opposed to a lot of the tuakana featured, she is a relatively new addition to my tuakanacoven. Up until very recently, Lissa and I were working quite closely together and I must congratulate her for putting up with my sass (must be admitted that she has a fair amount of it herself!) and has joked in the past that there is a reason why people thought I was her Senior Adviser instead of the other way around.
We're sure we're not alone when we say that Stephanie Gibson is one of our favourite people in the sector. She was particularly influential for Nina back when she was a Masters placement student and then a (temporary) fully-fledged employee with the History team at Te Papa. Stephanie was endlessly helpful, kind and welcoming - attributes which are no small thing to a nervous young sprout at the beginning of their career.
I've been wondering recently about the root cause of change. Not like restructures and such but good change. One of the most frustrating things about us humans is our capacity to know the damaging effects of our behavior yet doing nothing to change it. Let's take the environment vs my own lazy behavior. I know I shouldn't use single-use plastics.I know I shouldn't use throwaway takeaway coffee cups....
This week at work was mostly spent working on some object labels for an exhibition which, for the most part, entails re-working existing labels. This means that my best friends this week have been a thesaurus and the DNZB. What I have been reminded of this week is the power of words, inside the institution and outside of it, how we write labels directly influences how people read art and taonga. It seems simple enough but it is still an inherently political decision to privilege Māori frames of reference over Pākehā.
I am very, very nervous. About a week ago a small but not insignificant flutter of butterflies began to congregate in the pit of my stomach. In the intervening days the butterflies have not only multiplied exponentially but taken up permanent residency. I am very nervous about tomorrow's election. Pretty neat feelings of hopefulness have been replaced with dread and an unshakable feeling that come Sunday, the majority of people in Aotearoa will not have chosen to step into a fairer, more equitable, empathetic, progressive future...
Phew! Kua mutu te wiki o te reo Māori (moku noa iho)! My duties as guest-editor over at The Wireless have ended, it's been such a great week but I'm so tired. Working with such talented rangatahi has been suuuuch a privilege and it's so amazing to see their whakaaro, kōrero, toi, out in the world. Nāku te honore.
I have just spent two days at Nga Kete Wānanga Marae at the Manukau Institute of Technology. Part of a wider Auckland Museum leadership initiative, the noho was intended to provide a space and time for honest discussion and reflection on bi-culturalism at the Museum. Throughout the stay I had a passage written by Maualaivao Albert Wendt in his response to Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh's new publication, Tightrope , going round and round in my head:
There seems to have been quite a lot of awesome women achieving things this week so today's Fast Five is dedicated to them. Not just these recent achievements though because next year sees the Suffrage 125 commemoration and with the election quickly looming, it is timely that we reflect on the power of voting. With all this in mind, let's get started.
In times such as these - when your to-do list seems to be multiplying like wet Gremlins and you begin to suspect that Maui actually never slowed the sun down because time is going SO QUICKLY - you just have to stop and smell the roses. Take a moment, slow down and enjoy the finer things in life - such as the things featured in today's Fast Five:
This week I am writing about voice. There have been a few events over the last week that have shown how important having a voice is, and on the flipside, how dangerous it can be. With Tusk, a central tenet has always been that this website is a platform for people to share their views. It is a space for us, a space where ourselves and our peers can write about our experiences in the sector while acknowledging that what we do is part of the fabric of wider society.
It's hard to know what to say after the unbelievable last 48 hours that have passed since Metiria announced she will be stepping down from her position of Green co-leader and would likely not return to parliament as an MP after the election.
I truly don't think I've ever been so profoundly, devastatingly disappointed and ashamed of my country-folk. Something truly terrible has occurred; not just in the immense, immense loss to our political landscape with her departure but something horrible has been exposed in our country's lack of empathy, its blinding hypocrisy
Kia ora! Wow, this week was a rollercoaster. For me it started on a massive high as I co-hosted a wānanga with The Wireless where we worked with a room of awesome (mostly) rangatahi to generate story ideas for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. The day was really inspiring, but more on that later. The next day I had an artist collective visiting me and I had the pleasure of being with them all day as their art mātauranga (martauranga? Lol) slowly revealed itself. During all that Andrew Little decided to resign, we had a wave of optimism with Jacinda Ardern which all then got overshadowed by the bullshit following Metiria Tūrei around (shaped like David Seymour and coloured red thanks to the lack of support from Labour). So, all in all, this has been a week of it and I'm looking forward to a beer tonight! Let's do this and take a fresh approach to a brighter future, together.
So, ah, I totally forgot it was my week for Fast Five. It's been that kind of week - good but buuuuuusaaaaay. So I present you with #fastfivelite inspired by the film I am currently unwinding in front of... A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night....a beautiful, strange, moody Iranian vampire flick featuring a skateboarding woman vampire who preys on men who abuse women. The highlight of the film (aside from Arash Marandi - just google him) is a an absolutely kickass soundtrack that I shall be listening to all weekend.
Kia ora Friday whānau. We made it. This week I’ve had ‘LOYALTY’ by Kendrick Lamar stuck in my head due to a particularly fun episode I had last Friday evening at the opening for Maureen Lander and Fiona Clark’s new exhibition at the Dowse, which I’ll get to soon. The show has inspired this week’s Fast Five so I implore you to ponder on whakapapa and the marriage and movements that led to us being here. We made it.
I knew Auckland was going to be rainy but I don't think I took in the full magnitude of those words before moving here. Traipsing from the bus, through the Domain to Auckland Museum and back again with NO SHELTER (Auckland City Council please take note) over the passed few days has got me feeling all kinds of Leo in The Revenant (complete with ridiculously big fake fur coat that I thought I would never get the chance to wear once in the balmy climes of the North).
It’s been a time poor week whānau. Whakaaro goes out to all those who are affected by the awful sicknesses that are flying about and stealthy health to those who have not been affected! I’m jetting back from a flying visit to Auckland so, seeing as we’re heading into a cold and wet weekend, I’m just going to send you off in style with my latest watching recommendations. Cosy up and chill out (weird oxymoron there).
This week a few people shared an article with me written by Jarrett Drake, the up-until recently digital archivist at Princeton. I've been reading Jarrett's work for a while now - he's a bit of a leading voice in the radical, archivist as activist scene and he's been really, really pivotal as my thinking has progressed. In his latest piece on Medium...
Today I was blown away by a kōrero from mātauranga Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Mataamua (Tūhoe). He spoke hilariously, accessibly and joyously about the constellation Matariki and for the first time I heard the hohonu meanings behind these stars which, given it is also my name, was something of a revelation to me.
On Thursday night last week I undertook at feminist-theatre marathon by attending two plays in one night. An unprecedented move in my world. I have a checkered history with theatre. I think I saw one too many performances that scarred me (ie made me feel awkward and like I wanted to disappear under my seat). I’m thinking of one particular production of Othello I went to as a teen.
A full week since our last day of Kaitiaki hui and I’m still digesting the massive amount of learning I got from the Museums Aotearoa conference and Kāhui Kaitiaki hui. A week of listening to energising, eye-opening, and emotional (there were tears whānau, so many tears) kōrero as well as meeting a whole bunch of new people and spending time with one of the greatest (Glin! Glinnn! Glenn Iseger-Pilkington!) ever. As I’m in the come down period, and grasping at the remains of the week, here are some of my major takeaways and things we can build on (most of which will be informed by the talks I heard).
Any initial feelings of relief that I wasn't time out of the busy week to travel to Palmerston North for the Museums Aotearoa Conference were quickly squashed as the tweets started rolling in. Suddenly, there was no more #noregrets but instead @manymanyregrets. The presentations sounded interesting, confronting and necessary. It didn't sound like a 'we did this and then we did this' kind of conference but more like a 'why AREN'T we doing this? what are we here for? Who are we here for?'
Oh hai, it's me after all. I felt so guilty for not doing a Fast Five that here is, Sunday Fast Five inspired by some great reviews I've read lately. Reviews are also on my mind due my own recent writing and a general perceived lack of robust critique that has echoed through me from many corners in the last couple of weeks. It's also something that I'll be exploring more fully as part of our ETHICS theme.
Aaaaah, exhibition development. You're a slippery creature, sometimes confusing, sometimes arduous and most definitely different at every organisation, and even within the same organisation. You know when it's off and you know when it's on and I'm just so psyched to be working on a project right now that feels so incredibly ON...
Last weekend I went and saw Get Out and by god did it stay with me. The movie itself sets a mood of unease right from the start, not because it's a horror but because of the way it uses perspective to convey the experience of a black man just trying to live his life and the constant micro-aggressions he faces in a white-dominant space. Unsurprisingly this Fast Five is all about race and space. Goes without saying that there may be some spoilers so go and watch the movie and come back for a read later.
Was it serendipity or irony? I was sitting, having a wee break at work on Wednesday, scrolling through the news of the day whilst in the grips of one of those "back ache, thigh ache, aaaaaallmost bent double from discomfort but you deal with it because you're at work and you're a professional and you've got used to working through the pain even when you don't have any Panadol" period pains, when I happened upon that little turd of a opinion piece written by some Grey Power mover and shaker called Tom O'Conner and published in the Waikato Times...
This week I’ve been thinking pretty deeply about a few things due to a long Easter break with whānau at a waiata wānanga and also because of work. Thinking about identity is a constant negotiation, it is a highly personal, oftentimes difficult process. What I think now will inevitably change but I’m always up to debate the meanings with people. With that in mind…
Few things make me as happy as RuPaul's Drag Race. Not an episode goes by that doesn't leave a huge smile on my face, a tear in my eye or a combination of both. It's fabulous, gorgeous (and shady) but also kind, brave, uplifting, life-giving, accepting and joyous. I don't think I've ever "wooooo yeeeeaah"d so much at a television show in my life.
Because of all the horrible weather, and it's very real affects on the communities in which many of my whānau live, this Fast Five is brought to you by some good, warm, nice things. There's wool, there's textiles, whānau, intangible cultural heritage - these are a few of my favourite things.
These past few weeks my work has taken on a kind of literary bend. I've had the absolute privilege of helping 5 writers access Auckland Museum's documentary heritage collections as part of Auckland Writers Festival's collab with us entitled Writing the Past: A Museum Collaboration. Like, such a privilege: Ngahuia te Awekotuku, Hera Lindsay Bird, Anne Kennedy, Kelly Ana Morey, and Toby Morris
Dr. Teresia Teaiwa was someone who I heard snippets about over the past few years; her words acting as conduits for her powerful insights, passing from countless others to me and ever onward. Her mind, her prose, her generosity, her aroha, her manaakitanga and her mana preceded her, and it is through others that I feel this loss. I feel it for ngā tāngata katoa o te Moana nui a Kiwa and most especially for her aiga, Sean and her boys.
Bill English's recent-ish unverified, careless and actually just incorrect claim that unemployed young New Zealanders are unable to find and hold down a job because the can't pass a drug test has been weighing on me. Every now and again, the memory of it pops back into my mind and a seething anger rises that our grey-flannel Prime Minister could be so dismissive, careless, and so damn ready to throw young people under the bus.
This week I am tackling a more difficult aspect of leadership, dealing with bad leaders. Many of the posts so far this month have talked about empowering, inspirational and supportive leaders in the GLAM sector, which thankfully appear to be in abundance. I feel especially proud to personally know a few of these amazing people who actively advocate for their staff. However, I feel that there’s often hesitation to talk openly about the negative experiences of leadership.