Archive for June, 2012

News Update June 26

Kia ora ,

It has been another busy couple of weeks, with newspapers reporting council funding decisions, new exhibitions and other museum sector activities – including citizens and politicians in Dunedin debating renaming of Otago Settlers Museum, the Sarjeant Gallery’s partial closure due to earthquake risk, and Te Papa paying $1.5 million for the piano Michael Parakowhai made for the Venice Biennale. Auckland Art Gallery has added to its haul of awards, including the NZIA 2012 NZ Architecture Medal and Chris Saines’ CNZM in the Queens’ Birthday Honours, this time scooping three of the 2012 NZ Property Council Awards – Rotorua Museum only got one.

Statistics survey(s) current and coming up
We have mentioned before that MA is working on a bigger and better sector statistics project. This is now scheduled for August, and museum and gallery organisations will soon be contacted to ask for your input. This is a vital piece of work for all of us – each institution needs to have such data for its own planning, and sharing it enables everyone to gain a better understanding of the bigger picture into which we all fit. MA has engaged researcher Lisa McCauley to run the survey, whom some of you might know from her time as Auckland Museum’s research manager, and we’ve convened a small reference group to ensure that the project is robust, authoritative, useful and accessible. We’re also working with key stakeholders such as MCH and ATTTO as both providers and users of our sector information.

Staff appointments – Waikato, Rotorua, Waitangi, Palmerston North, Auckland…
Waikato Museum has welcomed new Director, Cherie Meecham, lately Deputy Director at Rotorua Museum, and will shortly farewell Deputy Director Andy Lowe to take up the Director’s vacancy at Te Manawa. Now Rotorua is now to also lose its Director, with Greg McManus to become Chief Executive of the Waitangi National Trust in early August. So we anticipate a bit of movement around the country, with a record 17 vacancies advertised in May, and senior appointments awaited at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Tairawhiti Museum, and several at Auckland Museum.

There are plenty of interesting and useful opportunities and events coming up in the second half of this year. Training sessions for UNESCO’s Memory of the World project will be held this week and next in Wellington and Dunedin, and Auckland will host creative sector networking event Survive and Thrive in early July. November’s INTERCOM conference in Sydney has extended its call for papers until 15 July. Nga mihi o Matariki,

Phillipa & Talei

PS – we’re enjoying finding out about Matariki and all things astronomical with the Carter Observatory on Facebook – a great example of successful museum engagement via social media.


Building Audience Capital – Creative NZ 21C Arts Conference 2012

Building Audience Capital
Creative NZ 21C Arts Conference 2012

Last week saw 250 delegates converge on Wellington for the fifth annual Creative New Zealand 21st Century Arts conference. The conference has grown steadily, and it was good to see a broader range of museums represented this year, although there were some notable exceptions. As always, a conference is at least as much about collegial sharing and networking as it is about the content and learning, and it is important for museum people to be part of their wider community of professional practice.

This and previous conferences focused on developing arts organisations – and growing their audiences – using research and strategic engagement tools. Much of this is based on work by UK-based consultancy Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM). So successful has this partnership between CNZ and MHM become, that the latter now have an office and staff in NZ to undertake the work being commissioned independently by our arts organisations.

There is no doubt that this is having positive results for many. CNZ has just released its latest 3-yearly engagement study, New Zealanders and the Arts (research by Colmar Brunton). The report says that some indicators have decreased in the last 3 years, with a slight drop in everyday engagement, and attendance figures a little lower, probably attributable to the loss of venues in Christchurch. Conversely, online engagement is growing rapidly, and young people’s participation is increasing, with powerful positive effects. In general, New Zealanders strongly support the arts in their community.

At the conference, CNZ also outlined a new piece of research commissioned from Colmar Brunton, which brings together audience segmentation work by MHM and a broad demographic survey to build an Audience Atlas. Described as ‘a new dashboard tool for arts organisations, venues and galleries’, this allows an organisation to look at its own audience in relation to participation and segmentation in its catchment area.

This year’s conference title was Building Audience Capital – not only growing the numbers, but also the emotional and personal investment of our communities in our arts organisations. This relates closely to the MA10 theme of demonstrating relevance so as to become more obviously essential to the communities who are our funders as well as our audiences. We need their engagement whichever way you look at it.

Keynote presentations developed the concept of audience capital, and what it means for arts organisations, both for their strategy and planning and for their programming.  ‘Marketing’ in the sense of pushing a product was replaced by the idea of pulling audiences in to be part of the organisation’s community of engagement. Other conference presentations and workshops explored engaging with specific audiences such as disabled, Maori or Pacific people, and ways and means such as online, social media, and working within an arts organisation, to make all these good things happen.

We heard some fascinating personal experiences and stories of success – often snatched from the brink of failure. Like the performing arts centre in Wales that had to reinvent itself as soon as it opened, and why the ‘season ticket’ approach is losing ground in favour of more personalised options.  We were encouraged to engage more thoughtfully with diverse communities, and treated to a performance by dance company Touch Compass.  Integrating disabled and able-bodied dancers, Touch Compass is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a new season opening in Auckland tomorrow.

While CNZ talks about ‘the arts’ and many of the tools are about increasing revenue and viability through ticket sales, most of the ideas apply to free-entry cultural heritage institutions as well. The general feeling of goodwill amongst conference attendees is very positive, and helps us all to renew our energy and commitment. A return visit to NZ by inspiring Canadian philanthropic fundraising guru Guy Mallabone is expected in November – if you haven’t yet been to one of his sessions, he is highly recommended to anyone needing to boost their skills and confidence for major fundraising efforts.

For those who were not at the conference, there will be a whole lot of resources online, joining the other material on the CNZ website. We’ll remind you when more is available.

Nga mihi o Matariki,
Phillipa

PS – you can also see photos and comments from people more tech-savvy than me at:
Twitter #21Arts

News Update 14 June

Kia ora,

There have been consultations and announcements about council funding around the country, and most councils seem to be continuing to support culture and heritage – although not always as much as we would hope. In this financial climate just holding the status quo can be seen as a victory. The newspapers are covering museum and gallery activities around the country, and the latest news can be read by members on our website here. In other news, we were delighted to hear that Mana Recovery won the Green Gold category at the Wellington Gold Awards last week. Mana Recovery employ people with disabilities, and made our wonderful recycled banner bags for the MA12 conference. The Gold Awards also recognised Denis Adam, whose Adam Foundation has been very supportive of the arts. And a reminder that you can listen to Radio NZ broadcasts via the internet, including an interview with Aotea Utanganui’s Cameron Curd on last week’s Arts on Sunday and an item on the proposed Hundertwasser Arts Centre in Whangarei the week before.

Statistics and research
Museum organisations should have received an invitation from Strategic Pay to participate in this year’s museum sector remuneration survey. Now in its third year, this survey is providing extremely useful information. MA worked with Strategic Pay to set up the survey, and reviews it each year. The report is available for purchase by participating organisations. If you are interested, or your museum has not received an invitation, please contact Strategic Pay or the MA office.

We are working on an expanded museum sector research project. This will provide a comprehensive overview of the museum sector, identify and measure sector trends, and inform and assist with advocacy and strategic and business planning. We will be contacting museum organisations shortly to explain the project and seek information.

Philanthropy
Philanthropy is top of mind at Creative New Zealand these days. They have recently appointed Jean Goodband in the new role of Manager, Private Giving and Partnerships Programme and are hosting the Guy Mallabone Sessions on fundraising. They will shortly be launching a new philanthropy programme to help the arts sector to identify and develop alternative sources of funding. “There is huge potential to grow a culture of giving to the arts in New Zealand and this programme will be key to realising this,” Jean says.

New Zealanders and the Arts
Creative New Zealand has also recently made available online the reports from its research New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, Attendance and Participation in 2011. This project aims to provide insights that help the arts community and its supporters identify new trends in a changing environment and take up new opportunities. The research was conducted by independent research company Colmar Brunton. It builds on previous research in 2005 and 2008. A full report of the national results and a video of New Zealanders talking about what the arts mean to them are available on the Creative New Zealand website.

MCH appointments
As well as moving their office down the street – to almost opposite MA – the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has just made appointments to three new staff positions. Dr David Butts will move from Tairawhiti Museum to the role of Manager Heritage Operations in July, and Ralph Johnson will be Manager Heritage Policy. Bev Hong has joined the Cultural Policy Branch as Senior Adviser, Cultural Sector Research – we will be working with Bev and Murray Costello on our museum sector statistics project.

Mystery Item
Karel Kaio, Collections Manager at Kiwi North (Whangarei Museum and Heritage Park) was searching through some unregistered museum dental items and has come across one that has her stumped. Can you help identify this tool?

Dimensions are : 225mm (L) x 880mm (W) x 50mm (H). Materials: Bone (handle) and Brass

CONTACT INFO: Karel Kaio, Collections Manager, Kaitiaki Taonga P: +64 9 438 9630 ext 3 E: karel@kiwinorth.co.nz

 

Nga mihi o Matariki,
Phillipa & Talei

Reflections on MA 12 – Ashley Mackenzie-White

Today we have an account by Ashley Mackenzie-White who left the conference full of questions.

MA12: Collaboration in Practice, 18-20 April 2012

 ‘They don’t realise they are experiencing art, but they have a feeling’ – Umberto Crenca 

It is a week since I walked out of Te Papa, acutely aware that the buzz of the MA12 conference would wear off and that soon I would find myself unable to turn to someone who just gets it. As it was said at the end of the 3 day conference; there will always be more questions than answers.  For me, these questions include:

Why didn’t I know about the amazing work of Te Kura before now and how are we, the museum sector going to help?

Why don’t we have our own version of AS220 in Aotearoa?

Why didn’t Pou Temara speak to the entire audience?

Why, in a museum filled with post it notes, was there no place to comment on what we loved, liked or disliked about MA12?

Why at a conference made up of discussions about tikanga Maori, taonga Maori, and more centrally collaboration, was there no discussion about the recently cancelled work by the Mexican artist, Teresa Margolles? Isn’t this decision relevant to all people who work in our sector as it raises questions about consultation and collaboration, censorship and cultural sensitivities, tikanga and korero?

In the three days at MA12, I heard about the exciting projects happening in the Far North.  I learnt that as beneficial as licensing trusts may be, it is the people that always come first, and that we should never take them or the time we have with them for granted. I heard many times how we should feel the fear and just do it. I heard that cooperation is about meaningful involvement, that museums are places of social commentary and that sometimes people have to put their ideals aside to enable a better community. I got excited about boosted.org.nz as well as equal pay. On Day Two, I was pleased to learn thanks to Jim Marchbank – former CEO of Science North, Sudbury, North Ontario – that there are commercial companies that want a long lasting experience that ‘emotional response’ rather than to slap us with their brand.  I was shown, thanks to the amazing people of Canterbury, the transformative power of art, the power of the human spirit, and the importance of our cultural & heritage institutions in the face of disaster.  

For those at the conference, or around Aotearoa, who were privileged to hear and meet Umberto Crenca from AS220, Providence, Rhode Island, you will have experienced that same awe, inspiration, faith and perhaps frustration that I felt during and after his keynote address on the closing day of the conference. These same emotions came to the fore when Coralie Winn from Christchurch showed us the stunning work of the Gap Filer community where all things from fridges full of books, to sculpture,  fill the spaces where buildings once stood.

Museums, galleries, archives, libraries, public spaces and government departments all have the ability to change people and their communities.  Museums, galleries, archives, libraries, public spaces and government departments survive by virtue of the values and passion that fulfil us. This was seen in the conference bags, made from exhibition advertising and lovingly reconstructed by the team at Mana Recovery. These bags are a physical manifestation of what the conference taught me; that it is the people that paint the pipes in copper colour then sprinkle them with dust that will save us from the ‘cuts’.

To the casual observer, the conference went extremely smoothly and our national museum was a gracious host. Phillipa and Sophie and their team have again pulled off a tour de force on their limited budget and tight resources, so hats off to them for a highly successful and engaging MA12.

Ashley Mackenzie-White
Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage


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