Posts Tagged 'MA16NZ'

News Update 5 February 2016

Kia ora

February already! Summer continues, cruise ships disgorge their passengers around the country, campervans are everywhere, and Chinese New Year holiday visitors are arriving. With school back this week, we’re getting into the year’s activities.

Opening this week is the new Waitangi Museum and long-awaited reopening of Christchurch Art Gallery, followed the week after by CoCA. Very different in origins and aims, the Waitangi and Christchurch openings are all encouraging signs that the value of museums to their various communities is being understood and supported.

MA and Local Government NZ are currently working on bringing together a range of voices and data to help quantify and articulate this value. Several recent and current initiatives are relevant.

This week Te Papa hosted an Australasian Visitor Research Forum, a day in which about 50 people from museums, galleries, zoos, outdoor amenities, universities and research agencies gathered to share perspectives and experience on understanding visitors.  Similar annual forums have been recently in Australia, and this is the first time in Aotearoa.  It is hoped that some of the presentations can be shared more widely, and that this dialogue continues, especially linking research and theory to practice in museums.

Another theory/practice symposium in Wellington this week explored research into intercultural dialogue and understanding generated through international exhibition exchange. Dr Lee Davidson (Vicotria University of Wellington) and her colleague Leticia Perez from Mexico have interviewed both visitors and museum staff involved in two touring shows in several countries: ‘E Tu Ake’ in Mexico, Quebec, Paris and Te Papa; and ‘Aztecs’ in Mexico, Te Papa, Melbourne and Sydney. The symposium was an excellent opportunity for some of those involved to share in the preliminary findings and extend the discussion into the broader area of cultural diplomacy. Such cross-disciplinary conversations are vital to encourage critical and innovative thinking and bring new energy into museum practice.

The importance of robust data to provide evidence of our work, especially to funders, came through in both these forums.  MA is running our National Visitor Survey this month, and we encourage all museums and galleries to participate. The standardised methodology offers statistically reliable data to participating museums, which can then be used and viewed against the national aggregate.  This annual snapshot provides vital baseline information to complement local data such as total visitation and qualitative feedback on exhibitions. It was referred to by several presenters at the Visitor Research Forum.

Information about the National Visitor Survey can be found here or by contacting survey@museumsaotearoa.org.nz. We are looking for volunteers to help with interviewing across the country, and encourage staff – especially management – to take a turn as well.  It’s amazing what insights you can get from talking directly to visitors. Talei and I are looking forward to helping out in some museums and galleries locally.

Back in the office its full steam ahead with MA16 conference and the 2016 ServiceIQ NZ Museum Awards.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 21 January 2016

Kia ora

Welcome back to our regular News Update for 2016. We hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing festive season and wish all our members and friends a very happy new year.

The summer has seen record tourism figures, including increases in all our international markets.

Media coverage over summer for museums and galleries has been very good, and we hope that reflects increased engagement. Internationally, the news is not so encouraging, with the UK in particular facing ongoing funding cuts. And we must acknowledge the passing of David Bowie, who has influenced more than a generation of cultural creation – may his legacy continue.

In Australia, an unwelcome Christmas present was delivered to the arts and culture sector with the announcement of budget cuts which will scrap the Book Council, and cut $36.8 million from government-funded museums and galleries, mainly those in Canberra. This comes after cuts announced and partially rescinded earlier this year during political upheavals, particularly affecting funding for the Australia Council.

With most museum and gallery funding in New Zealand coming from local councils, we will need to be well-prepared for our council elections in October 2016. MA is working on the evidence base for the value of our institutions, and how we can get our message across more effectively. We are launching a project to collaborate with the wider arts, culture and heritage sector and Local Government NZ to review current research information, with the aim of preparing advocacy material for members.

At MA we’re straight back into planning for our joint MA16 conference with Museums Australia, with more updates on the programme due out at the end of the month. Earlybird registration is available until 19 February, and includes a 10% discount for 3 or more delegates from the same organisation.

Don’t forget, MA is seeking participants for a pilot mentoring scheme to take place in the Auckland region during 2016. Applications are invited by Thursday 28th January. More information and application forms can be found here.
And please check the listings below for new activities and opportunities…

We look forward to catching up with you soon.
Ngā mihi
Phillipa and Talei


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