In five words, describe your place in the sector.
Professional craft-fancier; occasional crafter.
What first drew you to the sector i.e. Do you have a particular memory of a moment that got you hooked?
I think I was drawn less to the sector as discipline, and more as a way to be close to the things that I love. I’ve always been into fashion, textiles, jewellery, creative beautiful things, but have never wanted a career in making (or selling) them. My mum’s a quilter so I remember as a kid watching her roll up the Persian rug in the lounge, laying out the patchwork and the layers and tacking it all together in preparation for quilting. I love that this kind of knowledge that I soaked up from her throughout my life now helps me to better understand the objects in my collection.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
I’m a middle class pakeha girl who’s into the arts so I have to be real here and say: not as many as some. But I feel like none of us get to our dream job without doing museum penance somewhere, be that moving somewhere isolated, or working at an institution where limited time and resources mean that you’re pretty much compromising your ideals daily.
Has anything or anyone in particular provided you with support?
Three of my Museum and Heritage studies co-alumni have gone on to get diverse and awesome jobs in the sector: one is a backbone of NSTP; one is the curator/sometime director of the North Otago Museum; and one is on scholarship doing her PhD at SOAS in London. Eight years after we graduated and we still email each other regularly with problems that we want help on, or just to vent. I couldn’t put a price on how valuable their support has been, especially when we’re all young women inevitably going through imposter syndrome at some stage or another. I’ve never gone out of my way to actively “network”, just offered the best I could at every opportunity that’s come my way. It’s nice when your co-students and colleagues become “the network”.
What do you think people at your own level (emerging etc) bring to the sector?
I like to think that those who have gone before us have worked hard to instil attitudes that we now accept as a matter of course. For example, valuing Mātauranga Māori, considering alternative viewpoints, relinquishing the idea of the museum (and its staff) as the omnipotent keeper of knowledge, are things that we understand and value instinctively, and will bring to into a project from the beginning. I like to think that – I hope I’m right!
What is a positive change you would like to see in the sector?
More women/POC brought up to the top roles. I know some badass bitches so it’s not for a lack of source material. I acknowledge that the barriers around this are something we have to chip away at as a society.
What is your karaoke song?
I have a different repertoire for different karaoke clubs around town based on what they have in their books (The Zoo in Newmarket is the only one I’ve found so far with
“212” by Azealia Banks), but “Fernando” by Abba is a classic for me (my colleagues are probably sick of it).