Kia ora. Welcome to a further newsletter for 2020. Again, Covid 19 has been a dominant presence for us all. By the time you read this, Auckland will have moved out of Level 3 and about a quarter of New Zealand’s school students and teachers will have been able to return to something like ‘business as usual’ rather than remote teaching and learning.
However, we acknowledge that level 2 with its important social distancing constraints presents significant challenges, particularly in the performing arts of dance, drama, and music. I sing in a choir, where we have been mindful of the research that shows that choral-singing environments are particularly effective in spreading Covid. We have been able to meet for only half of the usual time this year, and of course performances and concerts have gone by the way.
We hope that, despite such challenges, teaching and learning in the arts continues to be rewarding and fulfilling for you and your students – and that you keep well!
We trust that you enjoy this newsletter and continue to benefit from the sharing of expertise and experience within the Arts Online communities and mailing lists.
Ngā mihi nui
On behalf of the Arts Online team
Sally Waanders – Art History
Bridget Blair – Visual Arts
Patrice O’ Brien – Dance
Ryan Timoko-Benjamin – Drama
Martin Emo - Music/Sound Arts
Jane Ferguson & Simon Chiaroni – Administrators, Cognition Education
Why Art History?
Dr. Caroline Vercoe
Art History, School of Humanities, The University of Auckland
We have heard about the importance of critical thinking. But it is visual literacy and analysis today that will become the most important skill sets we can develop. They can’t be replaced by artificial intelligence. In fact, they give us an edge in relation to managing and understanding the visual language of culture and how it can be used to create communities and a sense of belonging, as well as weaponised to incite fear and division. Art Historians can identify how artists have created loaded and highly symbolic works that resonate in so many different contexts – public art, the internet and meme culture, the gallery, private collections and the museum. But its influence and impact goes much further into popular culture, music videos, political campaigning and branding. This is because the highly symbolic and layered nature of many artworks have the capacity to break through the saturated, ‘noisy’ environment of the internet, as well as public spaces. Recognising and being able to critically evaluate and see patterns in visual culture are crucial and relevant skills.
Art History provides a dynamic space to consider and explore how artists, their works and histories simultaneously look backwards and forwards in terms of their frames of reference. It also challenges us to think carefully about and consider not only those present and ensconced into its stories, but also the opportunity to forge new pathways and entry points for those who have been marginalised and excluded. A knowledge and qualification in Art History can provide a sound platform to thrive in a wide range of career options. It offers graduates a broad and unique skillset that specialises in visual literacy, a knowledge and awareness of the past and its legacies in the present, and a sound understanding of the nuances and influences of visual culture today.
Toshi Frederiksen is a third year BA student studying Art History and Anthropology at The University of Auckland. She is also the President of the Art History Society (AHS), a student led organisation. Members of the AHS include current BA students and alumni, as well as teachers and secondary school students. She is passionate about Art History and enjoys the smaller class teaching it offers. “You have a really good support system and feel comfortable sharing ideas in class … it’s very nice to be going through a subject and feeling that you are making all these friends over three years.”
Greg Minissale teaches Art History at The University of Auckland. “One of the most amazing things about art is how it exercises the imagination. … it has the ability to be both idealistic and realistic - to look at future solutions and at the world around us; that’s really what is inspiring about contemporary art.”
Art History offers the skills to develop an edge in a world increasingly saturated by visual images and messaging. Studying Art History is a great way to develop visual literacy, critical analysis and interpretation expertise. There are so many ways that art and Art History informs and enriches our lives. Like History, it offers us a way of understanding the world from a range of perspectives and experiences. But it goes further than this in its capacity to reflect different and often divergent ways of thinking about ourselves and our place in the world. It also offers invaluable pathways to our own self awareness and wellbeing.
Being in Level 3 or Level 2 lockdown provides challenges for teaching dance. We look forward to seeing students learning more about the creation and performance of solo dances during this time. It’s also a good time to focus on learning required for externals.
The Subject Expert Groups to redesign NCEA standards continue to be on hold, along with the overall Review of Achievement Standards (RAS).
NZQA has recently made templates available for the collection of evidence for external standards. These templates may be useful for schools preparing students for externals or could be used in the case of derived grades being required.
Features Moving Dance online to deal with Covid-19. Among the articles and links on this site is a set of solos that have been performed at Jacob’s Pillow.
From Akram Khan - Although we can't be in the theatre right now, we can bring theatre to you. We’re so excited to announce that for a limited time, you’ll be able to watch “Until the Lions” for free! The film was captured in 2016 during our first run at Roundhouse and it brings back so many wonderful memories. Here is alink to an excerpt on You Tube. Join us here!
Here is a resource showing 5th grade students using a Dance-Making Rubric and a Collaboration Rubric to support their creation of original choreography integrating concepts from Jose Limon technique. Included are lesson plans and videos of the children working. This would also be useful for secondary students.
The National Arts Education Association Alliance (NAEAA) has reached another important step in its formation. They recently held a day-long workshop with Peter O'Connor, Rawiri Hindle, Priya Gain, Murray Williams, and Pauline Cleaver, an Associate Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Education. The day ended with the formalisation of an Alliance with a Memorandum of Understanding between the national arts associations and the election of Co-Chairs Donna Rawhakarite Tupaea-Petero - Tangata Whenua (Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators) and Emma Bishop (Drama NZ).
The Networks of Expertise partnership between MENZA and the Ministry of Education has been extended till the end of the year. It has provided vital support to music educators during the various lockdown levels.
The Subject Expert Groups continue to be on hold, along with the overall Review of Achievement Standards (RAS). The Music Technology Unit standards are also currently under review, with the Performing Arts Technology Unit standards beginning their review.
Features What do you mean by inclusion in Music Education?
Dr Victoria Armstrong shares insights into her academic research across music technology, gender and related inclusion issues, exemplified by two case studies within primary and secondary education practices.
The special interest group “Decolonising and Indigenising Music Education” has been active in sharing resources, research and other publications via their facebook group, which sits under the umbrella of the International Society for Music Education.
News Creatives in Schools
The application deadline for Creatives In Schools funding has been extended due to the current changes in Alert Levels for Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. The closing date has been changed from the 21 August to 11.59pm Sunday, 20 September 2020.
This funding provides a great opportunity for uniting a local creative and school to support students’ learning and experiences in the Arts.
Applications for Round 2, of up to 110 projects, are open for implementing at any time during Terms 1 to 4 in 2021.
Verification requirements for Levels 1 and 2 of Visual Arts have been removed for the 2020 academic year in response to the reduction in instruction time due to Covid 19. Schools will assess external examination folios for these two levels and provide the grades to NZQA. Level 3 examination processes remain the same, but with some changes in dates.
Reminder of dates of external exams Visual Arts Level 1 and 2: Provisional results must be entered on the NZQA website by 9th November. Schools can then amend these to final grades up to the 27th of November.
Visual Arts - Level 3 and Scholarship: Thursday, 12th November, 9.30am
Covered in the Art History section of this newsletter
Currently the Arts face trying times with the cancellation or modification of many events affected globally by the current pandemic. UNESCO responded earlier this year with ResiliArt - a call to arms for artists to join together globally. A range of online debates have taken place, beginning with this inaugural event on International Art Day, 15th April 2020.
As French artist JR states in this video about his Time 100 issues cover “You gotta stay the utopist. The artist always stays the utopist. Why? Because there’s enough people being the pessimist around.”
In a hopeful vein, we offer this clip ‘A message from New Zealand”, from 100% New Zealand.
There has been contention around the funding that has been provided to Communities of Learning over the past few years. Some of this has provided a good deal of expertise and focus across a number of education providers, as intended, while others have not delivered the results expected, given the funding provided. This is highlighted in a recent article: Call to axe $100 million dollar communities of Learning Scheme.
New Zealand artist Heather Straka discusses her work in this video conversation with art dealer Johnathan Smart about her recent exhibition.
The generous contribution of Aotearoa Art Educators alongside international Visual Arts colleagues has seen a shared cache of resources distributed via Google Drive to support many in need during remote teaching time. Some of these resources may be published in future on the Arts Online site.
News Art History PD and Scholarship Art History Teacher PD Day:
This day will be held on Friday, September 11th at the Epsom campus, University of Auckland. Costings and the content (specific topics and speakers) will be finalised soon. This is always a really inspiring day, so put this date in your diaries and get your PD application into your school. Scholarship day for students and teachers:
This will be held on a Saturday, early in Term 4 -TBC at Auckland University. This is another valuable day for students to work together and plan responses and extend , as well as a great opportunity for teachers to liaise with each other and examine different approaches to this exam.
NZQA Digital Mock exams
These exams are practice exams for use by teachers to familiarise students with the digital format that is used with the external AS exams at the end of the year. They use digital exams from previous years for Levels 1, 2 and 3, and found at https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/subjects/art-history/levels/.
Also available are assessment gathering templates for both internal and external AS, which have been developed in response to the truncated academic year created by Covid 19.
Auckland City Art Gallery Civilisation - Photography Now - until 18 October
A look at our built environments and our hyper-connected, 21st-century lives through the eyes of skilful photographers Gordon H Brown and Colin McCahon - until 3 September
Brown engaged McCahon’s attention by commenting on an obvious interest in Cubism in a painting that lent against a sofa in the living room. Thus began a close, lifelong friendship. Te Papa Wellington: Lemi Ponifasio - MAU House of Night and Day - until October 4
A new ritual performance based on Lagimoana, which Ponifasio created for the 56th International Venice Art Biennale, 2015, curated by the late Okwui Enwezor. Tatau - Samoan Tattooing and Photography - until 8 November
Pain, Identity, Innovation. Experience Samoan tattooing through the lenses of four photographers – across time, in Samoa.
Christchurch City Art Gallery Gathering Clouds - until 6 September
Starting with John Gibb’s Shades of Evening, the Estuary – the first painting acquired by the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1881 – we trace the formation of the Gallery’s collection of landscape painting. Louise Henderson - From Life - until 11 October
A French woman who found freedom to be herself in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, Henderson became a pioneer of abstraction who remained intensely engaged with the world around her.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery Paul Cullen - Building Structures - until 16 August Building Structures + + features a selection of works from different phases of Cullen’s forty-year career, drawn from the artist’s estate and shown together in Ōtepoti/Dunedin for the first time. John Reynolds - The Falls - until 27 September
Contemporary artist John Reynolds seemingly attempts a reworking of the Colin McCahon Waterfall theme & variations (1966) mural housed at the University of Otago’s main library.
Video Fiona Pardington - Ngā Ringa Toi o Tahu
For several decades Dr Fiona Pardington has been a prominent figure in the contemporary art world, both nationally here in Aotearoa and internationally. An extraordinary talent, she has received numerous accolades for her hauntingly beautiful photographic works.
What is Modernism? A Guide to Art, Literature and Design
Along with new trends in culture and society, political agendas, technological advances in industrialism, and scientific discoveries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new methods of thinking and creating emerged. Modernism, which influenced art, design, literature, and philosophy, led to an immense cultural transformation.
The Climate Change Clues in Art History
Art historians are exploring their collections through a climate lens, revealing overlooked connections between our past and present, writes Diego Arguedas Ortiz.