Posts Tagged 'Cam McCracken'

News Update 10 July 2012

Kia ora,

The last fortnight has seen more council planning and funding decisions reported, and more controversies. When resources are tight, there will always be some who see museums and galleries as soft targets for cuts – and unfortunately such decisions are often made in ignorance of – or in spite of – the consequences.

In Ashburton, objectors to the new museum/gallery project are staging a mini-version of the Auckland Art Gallery controversy, invoking the RMA and Environment Court. While the scale is rather different, the delay and wrangling will inevitably be costly in time, energy and dollars. Invercargill is also gripped with frustration over development plans for Southland Museum & Art Gallery, now calling for a ‘review’ of their proposed $24.6m project. In Auckland the final outcome has been even better than anticipated, and the Auckland Art Gallery has now carried off yet another prestigious architecture award, claiming one of the 12 international awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects. We can only hope that Ashburton and Invercargill come out of it all with great new facilities.

Further north, Marcus Boroughs is leaving Aratoi to be head of Public Programmes at Auckland Museum in the midst of very public stone-throwing at governance level, and now their Board Chair has stepped down as well. In Wellington the Museums Trust is under fire from its Maritime Friends for the Museum of Wellington deaccessioning a model of the Titanic. And announcements are finally being made of Te Papa’s new vision and structure.

The National Whale Centre has launched their Virtual Museumand blog this month. The creation of the National Whale Centre is the result of many years of research into the creation of a Picton Foreshore attraction which addresses the unique position of New Zealand as an ocean nation with a 172 plus years history of whaling and subsequent shift to more sustainable aquamarine industries and associated ecotourism ventures. You can see their site and blog here.

Statistics survey development
Accurate and detailed information is essential for planning and for advocacy. We have already mentioned that Museums Aotearoa is developing a comprehensive sector statistics project to gather and share data about museums and galleries around the country. This is taking shape now, and we expect to roll it out in August.

Staff moves
With the latest announcement that Cam McCracken will be taking over as Director of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and Marcus Boroughs departure from Aratoi, there are some interesting vacancies around the country. Alongside changes proposed at Te Papa and underway in other institutions, and a record number of vacancy advertisements coming through in the last few weeks, we are clearly in a period of ‘churn’. So for museum professionals looking to advance your career, now is the time to consider your options and look at taking on a new challenge.

Nga mihi,
Phillipa & Talei

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News Update

It seems that museums just can’t stay out of the news! While some of it is not so flattering, there is plenty of robust debate and some very positive media coverage over the last fortnight, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view).

The debate over a ‘national art gallery’ has been reopened with comments from new Chair of the Te Papa Board, Sir Wira Gardiner, supported by fellow Board member and long-time advocate for a separate art gallery, Chris Parkin. Journalists have had a field day sourcing comments on all sides of the debate from Hamish Keith, Luit Beiringa, Jenny Gibbs, Jenny Harper, Cam McCracken, Roger Blackley, Denis Adam, Rosemary McLeod, Mike Houlihan, Chris Finlayson, and even John Key. While most agree that the way the national art collection is displayed in Te Papa is not ideal, there is a wide range of opinions on the best way to address this. It is good to see informed discussion about matters which affect us all.

Other good news is the rise in discussion – and action – on philanthropy. Creative NZ has released a report on strengthening private sector support for the arts, The art of the possible, downloadable from their website here, and we expect the Minister’s Cultural Philanthropy Taskforce to report back early in the new year. The value of the removal of the cap on tax rebates for donations to charities was reinforced by last week’s announcement of a $500,000 donation to the Arts Foundation by retiring trustee Sir Eion Edgar.

We explored some of these initiatives in ‘Policy Matters!’ in the Museums Aotearoa Quarterly posted to members last week. Other articles report on conferences, Museums Aotearoa activities, profile museums and services, and a ‘favourite thing’ from Wellington City Archives. You can download the Museums Aotearoa Quarterly from the members’ area of our website.

International news shows that others are dealing with similar challenges. In Australia there has been an important legal decision overturning the Australian Tax Office contention that groups lobbying against government policy were not eligible for charity status – providing their campaigning is intended for public benefit, see here

In the UK the government funding cuts and their fallout continue. There has been further uproar over proposed deaccessioning to bail out struggling regional museums and galleries. The suggestion by TV art critic Brian Sewell that galleries should sell collection items was hotly denounced by the UK Museums Association. As the MA’s Maurice Davies said, “It is a bit like selling your house to pay for the hire purchase on your sofa.”

There is also much debate over how the Arts Council England will take on the functions of the Museums Libraries Archives Council (MLA) and its flagship Renaissance programme when the MLA is disbanded. The UK Museums Association has up to date news, and a cuts monitor here and there is an active twitter hashtag (#museumcuts) with people contributing feedback. If you’re on twitter, remember to follow us @museumsaotearoa

Many NZ museums and galleries will have been among the 483 applications for the NZ2011 Festival Lottery Fund seeking a total of over $76.8 million for 570 proposed events/activities, when the fund had only $9.48 available for distribution. Museums Aotearoa was advised last week that we are one of the 318 unsuccessful applications – hopefully some other museum projects will be among the lucky 165 applications supported.

Our next installment of News & Notices in a fortnight’s time will be the last for 2010. December is rushing past, and before the summer break we hope to open online registration for MA11, and have the 2011 edition of the Directory of New Zealand Museums & Galleries at the printer, if not back again. We are also finalising slight revisions to the Awards programme for next year and will be advising you about how to enter.

So we wish you good cheer as we roll on through a busy few weeks.

Ka kite,

Phillipa and Sophie


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