Kia ora and welcome to the November issue of the Arts Online newsletter. This month we are pleased to share an article – The Pert Project - written by Zoe Hoberigs who manages the education and public programmes at the James Wallace Arts Trust. This is an intriguing project that highlights the importance of authentic learning experiences in any curriculum area.
We also share heaps of nuggets to pique your interest and keep you up to speed with that’s happening in the Arts in New Zealand schools.
Please don’t hesitate to contact any of our facilitators if you are interested in being our guest editor – we welcome your ideas and views.
On behalf of the Arts Online team.
Editorial by Zoe Hoeberigs: The Perch Project
Opportunities to translate classroom skills and transfer subject knowledge into real world situations are imperative for students to see the benefits of their education - it needn’t exist in a vacuum. Projects that highlight achievements in a public environment enable students to understand the value of their learning in a different situation and, more importantly, shows students they are worthy to be heard and their ideas are significant and valid.
The Perch Project had these thoughts in mind when it was devised, and, alongside these wider goals, it also aimed to give art history a moment to shine as both an academic and creative discipline.
The Perch Project began with art history students from participating secondary schools touring the Pah Homestead and Rannoch, Sir James Wallace’s residence, earlier this year. Using the artworks they saw as inspiration, students selected works from the Wallace Arts Trust Collection and devised curatorial concepts to develop into an exhibition for display at the Pah Homestead. Two proposals were selected to be shown at the Arts Centre by students from Carmel College and Diocesan School.
The Perch Project enabled students to gain an understanding into the multi-faceted role of the curator and be part of every step involved in putting together an exhibition. This included writing the exhibition abstract, designing the layout of the artworks in the space and helping install the works in the galleries.
Curators are treasure hunters, knowledge holders, interpreters and story tellers. Through this project, the student curators were able to draw from a multitude of skills to successfully design and install their exhibitions. They scoured the Wallace Arts Trust Collection to uncover works related to their ideas; they considered their audience, the visitors and the gallery spaces; they overcame logistical constraints and solved problems using critical thinking; they gathered information and decoded artist’s intentions to compose the exhibition texts; and they drew from their personal interests and passions to produce unique and interesting exhibition concepts.
A student from Carmel College used the idea of the ‘altarpiece’ to select works that related to a more modern idea of worship. These included art works concerning celebrity, cuisine, warfare and money.
‘When we think of an altarpiece, it is traditionally something that is used to decorate a sacred space, a spiritual space. In modern times, religion has taken a step back, and the word ‘religion’ is no longer restricted to defining an orthodox or official belief system and tradition. Altarpieces traditionally depicted the divine, untouchable and mystic elements of faith, figures to be adored and worshipped. This exhibition offers some of the “deities” of secular modern day ‘religions’, and the pieces which would adorn their altars’ - an excerpt from the exhibition abstract.
A group of students from Diocesan School for Girls, curated an entirely personal exhibition, basing their selections on artworks they were drawn to intuitively, without necessarily understanding why. The works they selected were a mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar, incomprehensible and intriguing, inexplicable and personal. The curators wrote, “we believe they show boldness and audacity, and hope they provoke a type of reaction in the viewer in the same way they did in us.” They were unabashed in disclosing that the works were selected entirely instinctively; however, a deeper concept was cleverly revealed with the inclusion of poignant quotes, including this example from T.S. Eliot - “genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood”.
The team at the Arts Centre were impressed with the professional attitudes, the considered concepts and curatorial decisions of the student curators.
The Perch Project will continue in 2017, with the hope that it will again provide art history students a credible experience to use their expertise and gain confidence in communicating how they understand art to a diverse range of people. Of equal importance is the promotion of art history in the public realm as significant and worthwhile. The countless skills and competencies that students draw on while curating an exhibition exemplify the relevance of art history and this relevance is one that needs to be emphasised.
Note: “The Perch Project is so named because I had initially wanted to use a room in the Homestead as a permanent schools gallery and it was going to be called Perch. My thinking was that it would be a place for young creatives to be in momentarily – to perch in – before they take flight in their careers. In a similar way to an incubator or nest. This particular project works in a similar way.” Zoe.
It is with much sadness the arts community farewells Marti Friedlander. The Arts Foundation stated; “To know her was to love her ...She had a deep love of people and expressed this through her photography”. Friedlander made portraits of some of Aotearoa’s most important artists and in this Māori television article she is remembered for her photographs particularly of Māori kuia. This clip from the NZ Herald is a most fitting tribute.
The future of Teacher Registration of Itinerant Teachers of Music is being worked on by a taskforce, comprising of representatives from many organisations (including MENZA, PPTA and the EDUCANZ). Look out for announcements in early 2017.
NCEA exams continue through to 2 December with all three levels of NCEA Drama being examined on that final day of examinations for 2016:
Morning Session (am): NCEA Level One Drama & NCEA Level Three Drama
Afternoon Session (pm): NCEA Level Two Drama
Several production and theatre companies have begun releasing details of their 2017 performance sessions and education programmes: The Auckland Arts Festival, ACT, Indian Ink, Red Leap and MASSIVE Company have all provided advanced warning for 2017 show dates. Check the DramaNet archive for further details.
Collaborations between artists and musicians can result in the most intriguing videos - such as this clip created by Nik Knight and Björk, "Pagan Poetry" (caution graphic images of body piercing and some nudity)
In this article prominent artists bemoan the decision to axe Art History as an A-level subject in the UK. In contrast Amy E. Herman explains in this short clip how “our most prized professionals (doctors, nurses, police officers) can learn real world skills through art analysis”.
Teddy takes it all the way up to the roof in the beautiful city of Nantes. A young male dancer uses the rooftop for a contemporary dance with lots of jumps and floor work and some beautiful slow motion video.
Towards a Definition of Dance Education - this article by Susan Koff discusses the importance of dance in primary classrooms. She explains the difference between dance training and dance education and contends that once people see the difference they are able to appreciate the value of dance to children’s learning.
Area 6 – Contemporary Diversity – Shigeyuki Kihara: A performance work by Samoan/Japanese artist Shigeyuki Kihara - Taualuga: The Last Dance, 2006
It was presented at Te Papa in February 2012 for the opening of art exhibition Collecting Contemporary and was first time it had been performed in New Zealand. Kihara explains and discusses the significance of the dance.
This blog post from Theatrefolk focusses in on the benefits and ways into using drama in other classes and making cross curricular opportunities more valuable.
Many will have seen the latest social media craze, “the mannequin challenge” video doing the rounds recently. If you have not yet seen one, here’s a quick introduction to one from the NBC Hairspray Live cast. Several drama teachers’ initial reactions to these videos would have been something along the lines of, “but we do these in drama all the time, they’re call Tableaux...”. A great opportunity perhaps to take advantage of their popularity under a different label, to inject some drama into your school by constructing large tableaux sequences with whole year levels or classes and filming these “mannequin challenges” for class or school blog sites?
Other People’s Photographs – Cindy Sherman’s found albums and scrapbooks, 19 November – 19 March 2017. The first New Zealand solo exhibition in more than 25 years by this internationally-acclaimed artist.
Australian-based Midnight Music has been added to the reviewed resources section on Arts Online. It has a large number of free resources and a great weekly email. Sign up if you teach music to anyone, even a one-off lesson to primary students!
Art Ed Guru a website packed with resources, lessons, student work and video links.
Promoting Creativity in Teaching Drama: written by Anna Lehtonen, Miia Kaasinen, Mirja Karjalainen-Vakeva and Tapio Toivanen for the Department of Teacher Education, University of Helsinki, Finland, the article provides an insightful appraisal from the widely-acknowledged and celebrated Finnish education system about the concepts of creativity and creative teaching (teaching creatively) in the drama education. The writers give some critique and recommendations around the importance of three key features of creative teaching in drama - improvisation, presence and student participation as lenses/considerations which can increase creativity in the drama classroom.
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