In five words, describe your place in the sector.
Protection of NZ’s cultural heritage.
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
I have always been a creative and my interest in art drew me to the sector. I decided to undertake a Bachelor Fine Arts with no real plan of where I was heading, just that I wanted to spend my time doing what I enjoyed.
After university I moved to New York where I spent most of my days off exploring art galleries and museums. One year later my visa expired, I returned, and started working as a Visitor Services Host at City Gallery Wellington.
Working at the Gallery opened my eyes to the range of roles played in an art gallery and shifted my perception of creating - to creating exhibitions and experiences by communicating through objects. After six months in the role I knew that I wanted to work in the arts, culture and heritage sector and I enrolled in a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
I am inclined to say the limited opportunities in the sector, although I have felt really lucky so far. Going back to university and balancing work with postgraduate study for two years was difficult. It was also risky making the decision to study again when jobs weren’t very plentiful or promising.
More practical challenges have been attempting to pack loaned artworks into crates in the same manner they were originally sent, which registrars refer to as life size Tetris, and being responsible for the safety of visitors and artworks during a Seoul Yul Oh exhibition of inflatable and interactive artworks.
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
My family and friends provide me with constant support. I had two really great tutors in the Massey University Fine Arts and Museum Studies programmes. My current team at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage have also been very encouraging.
The staff at City Gallery were extremely supportive during my studies. Especially my Front of House manager, the Exhibitions Manager and the Registrar, who enabled a system where I could assist with the exhibition changeovers. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to package Yvonne Todd works from the Creamy Psychology exhibition.
What do you think people at your own level (emerging etc) bring to the sector?
We bring new perspectives and fresh opinions, and different understandings of importance and relevance which are beneficial for ever in flux organisations.
I think there is a real willingness to learn, and to work well, because it is so rare to get the opportunity to contribute. Any opportunity, no matter how small or how long it lasts, is such a rarity and so valuable to people who are trying to enter the sector.
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
Providing more opportunities to learn and gain work experience would be positive for those wanting to enter the sector, and for cultural institutions and organisations.
There is a need for better representation of diversity at all levels, from governance to museum exhibitions.
I support the increased focus on access to and use of collections, and ideas of reconnection and repatriation.
I am continually impressed by the collaboration across teams and organisations, and I think this is a positive shift in response to funding cuts and limited resources.
What is your karaoke song?
Any 90s pop. Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby is a favourite. This also accurately reflects my musical taste.