ST Paul St Gallery 2016 Curatorial Symposium

ST PAUL St’s 2016 Symposium, Ako mai, ako atu, takes its shape around questions of knowledge: knowing, learning, relationships of accountability. We believe that considering the institutional conditions within which we talk about knowledge is a fundamental concern for contemporary curatorial practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is important in the educational context that ST PAUL St Gallery occupies, for an increasing number of contemporary practitioners who situate their practice as researchers, as well as within a wider history of the public gallery performing an educative role.

A threshold for this discussion is articulating what we mean by knowledge and knowing. The knowledge we want to focus on here is contingent on its context; Ani Mikaere writes, ‘It is not handed down to us in perfected form from on high; rather, each generation takes the knowledge acquired by generations past and develops it further in light of their own needs and understandings.’1 In Aotearoa New Zealand, we are specifically concerned with critique of the colonising logic of globalisation, acknowledging that processes of knowledge sharing, propagation and maintenance are always conditioned by context.

Extending the discussion of research ethics which was a core focus of 2015, this year’s programme centres on the implications of the idea of innate access or ‘right’ to knowledge as a complex and culturally-mediated thing, and how this works in practice/s, as well as in formal pedagogy. As Alison Jones has written, ‘Pedagogy and research, especially at university, become predicate on the possibility of and entitlement to an accessible and shared terrain of knowledge.’2

Binna Choi, Director of Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht, is the 2016 keynote speaker. Choi has been director of Casco since May 2008. In this role she has taken up art institutional practice as a way to build a (micro) society in motion, in tandem with social movements. Continuing Casco’s practice of artistic research and experimentation, Choi’s particular focus lies in challenging modes of working and organisational structures. While experimenting with art and curatorial practices around ideas of authorship and modes of production, she is also committed to alternative forms of community engagement, locally embedded practices, and trans-local collaborations.

Day One presentations include Ema Tavola, Alison Jones and Grace Samboh. These are intended to provide a breadth of content – both practical and philosophical – for the symposium’s second day of discussions around practices of knowledge and modes of learning that don’t simply re-inscribe a colonial model of teaching and learning. Day Two will be a wānanga at Hoani Waititi Marae, towards which we are working with Desna Whaanga-Schollum and Ngā Aho.

This is the fifth ST PAUL St Symposium, looking at issues of cultural context for curatorial practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, in the context of the wider Asia Pacific region. The programme remains attendant to how curators working here, typically in institutional settings, can practice in a way which contributes to de-colonising such institutions; this year we want to think further about this in the light of discussions around access to knowledge.

1. Ani Mikaere, Colonising Myths – Māori Realities; He Rukuruku Whakaaro (Wellington: Huia Publishing, 2011), 317.

2. Alison Jones, with Kuni Jenkins, ‘Rethinking collaboration: Working the indigene-colonizer hyphen’, N. Denzin, Y. Lincoln and L. Tuhiwai Smith (eds.), Critical and Indigenous Methodologies (CA: SAGE, 2008), 471-486.

Binna Choi’s visit is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.
Grace Samboh’s visit is generously supported by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.


Thursday 14 July: Binna Choi keynote lecture
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Auditorium
5.30pm Registration
5.45–6.00pm Mihi whakatau
6.00–6.15pm Conveners’ welcome: Abby Cunnane and Charlotte Huddleston
6.15–7.30pm Lecture presentation: Binna Choi

Friday 15 July: Presentations
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Auditorium
9.15am Registration
9.45am Welcome and introduction
10.00am Alison Jones: Lessons from the hyphen: Māori-Pākehā work
10.50am Question time
[Short break]
11.30am Ema Tavola: Accountable to my Ancestors: Curating Fijians
12.20pm Question time
12.30 – 1.30pm Lunch: ST PAUL St Gallery (shared lunch provided)
1.30pm Grace Samboh: Taking and giving: friendship as a way of thinking and doing
2.20pm Question time
[Short break]
3.00pm Olivia Blyth and Nikau Hindin: Knowledgeledge
3.50pm Question time
Wrap up for the day

4.30pm delegates head to Hoani Waititi Marae, 451 West Coast Road
6.30pm (approx.) arrive Hoani Waititi marae (accommodation). Settle in.
7.00pm Dinner
DJ Linda T
Saturday 16 July: Waitakere arts wānanga
8.00am Breakfast and pack up
9.00am–10.00am Opening kōrero with Desna Whaanga-Schollum and Josephine Clarke
10.30am–11.30am Visit to McCahon House, 67 Otitori Bay Rd, French Bay, Titirangi
12.00–1.00pm Lunch (packed lunch provided), Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, 420 Titirangi Road
1.00–3.00pm Collective discussion, Te Uru Learning Centre
3.00pm Wrap up and farewell.

All symposium attendees welcome. You must make own arrangements for transport, and bring blankets and towels (mattresses, sheets and pillows are provided). There will be a small charge to cover catering. Carpool arranging page here.

ST Paul St Gallery 2016 Curatorial Symposium
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
July 14-16, 2017
Paper presentation here

About Grace Samboh

Believes in unicorn, conviviality and the struggle towards collective subjectivities—even temporarily.
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