On creating artist work schemes

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For our final Urban Dreams Monthly discussion in this series we brought together Finance and Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Grant Robertson, and documentary maker Luit Bieringa to discuss the options and their own experiences of artist work schemes at Toi Poneke Arts Centre in Wellington.

This discussion was recorded and broadcast by Radio New Zealand and can be listened to here.

From the Phoenix Foundation to filmmaker Taika Waititi, The Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment  or PACE scheme was credited with giving much needed space for artists to develop a career.

PACE was launched in 2001, allowing artists to sign up at the WINZ office without having to pretend to want to take on work in another field. They could get a benefit in return for proving they were producing and showing their work on a regular basis.

The scheme dwindled under the previous government, but now the Prime Minister and Arts, Culture and Heritage minister Jacinda Adern has pledged to explore the best ways to bring back PACE and explore other  arts employment options. For a  look at the history of PACE see this recent story by Adam Goodall on Pantograph Punch.

 

 

On creating creative capital with Justin Lester

Wellington mayor Justin Lester holds the city’s arts and culture portfolio and is dedicated to a “decade of culture” from July this year. In this Urban Dreams Podcast Lester tells Sophie Jerram about the $127 million that has been prioritised for the arts over the next 10 years, plans by council for affordable housing - in which he sees artists a vital part of that mix - and treating artists the same as start-up businesses. He also commits to holding Grant and Jacinda to account on Labour’s policy pledge to reintroduce a PACE (Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment) scheme.

This podcast is part of Urban Dream Brokerage’s monthly lunchtime conversation series - empowering artists  to work more as part of Wellington city.

During discussion time afterwards Lester announced that we will get light rail in Wellington (no court cases willing!), his wish to see the four stop signs in Cuba Street in Te Reo Maori, and greater access of the Hannah Playhouse for midcareer artists. There was much discussion about options for a much-needed 500 seater-and-up venue, and a planned function centre with the need expressed for artists and theatre technicians to be involved in the design specifications.

Finally, there was also discussion of the concerns about cuts in arts content in the Dominion Post and future public media options. The mayor says council are exploring developing their own news channel and would be interested in playing a more direct role in building more coverage for the arts with other partners beyond the printed newspaper.    

You’ll find other Urban Dream podcasts via this blog. We recommended you start with our last, a conversation with artist Kerry Ann Lee and choreographer Sacha Copland about the art of being in business.

On the business of being an artist

“As artists and creatives we put our vision first, the artistry up here and then the logistics, the resources you need, the people, the funding…  well it’s there, but it’s this kind of side platter.” Kerry Ann Lee

We talk about things artists often don’t talk about: getting paid – why is it so murky what venues and galleries have to offer? How do you navigate sharing your ideas never sure if there’s moolah at the end of it? How do you plan so you don’t have lulls in activity? And what should be in that funding application

This is a podcast discussion dedicated to helping artists do better in the business of being an independent artist, with two artists of experience working for themselves: visual artist and designer Kerry Ann Lee and dance choreographer and producer Sacha Copland.? We hope you find this discussion as valuable as we did.

In the chair is Mark Amery, from Letting Space and its Urban Dream Brokerage service. The hosts are Toi Poneke, and in the background you will hear the sounds of Philip Glass from Copland’s Tread Softly installation in the Toi Poneke Gallery in which a live dancer plays in autumn leaves amongst an exhibition of photographs of leaves by Tom Hoyle

These are two artists from different disciplines both interested in working in a variety of different ways with the public and communities. Kerry Ann Lee is a celebrated visual artist, designer and educator who uses hand-made processes and socially-engaged projects to explore hybrid identities and histories of migration. She creates installation, publication and image-based work and has a long practice in independent artists’ publishing. Sacha Copland is a dancer, choreographer and the artistic director of Java Dance Theatre working around New Zealand and internationally who believes in the power of dance to build empathy and dissolve the distance between people by creating dance that “clambers into your senses and gets underneath your fingernails.”

This is part of a monthly discussion and podcast series aimed at sharing and networking across the arts, with a mission to empower and resource artists to create work outside conventional venues as part of wellington city.

Our next discussion at Toi Poneke is May 8, 12.30-2pm, ‘On creating creative capital’ with mayor Justin Lester. A discussion with our mayor who holds the arts and culture portfolio on what is needed to take our creative scene to the next level.

 

On artist residencies in workplaces

 Citizen Water Map Lab, Julian Priest, Common Ground Public Art Festival 2017. Image: Dionne Ward.

Citizen Water Map Lab, Julian Priest, Common Ground Public Art Festival 2017. Image: Dionne Ward.

Tracking a satellite in a tragic death spiral and getting to delete your personal information, or getting workers to not have to feel like they have to pretend they know what they're doing all the time - art and business and art and science: in this interview from the  Urban Dreams Monthly lunches at Toi Poneke Wellington in March we hear from artist Julian Priest and theatremaker Leo-Gene Peters (from company A Slightly Isolated Dog) about two very different fledgling Wellington residencies that embed artists in the workplace. 

Julian Priest at Thomas King Observatory, Wellington Botanic Gardens: “This residency came out of a conversation I had with Tamsin Falconer at the Carter Observatory about something we might do together. We had about 20 or 30 good ideas in this conversation and at one point I think I said: “Is there something in that little building at the top of the Botanic Gardens?” And it turned out it was being used as a storage area. So we went through a quite informal process and later realised it had the makings of a residency space.

“I was there informally for a couple of months late last year testing antennae, and then we started formalising the process and getting the building into a place where it could be used as a public space. Now I am artist in residence at the Thomas King Observatory. It’s been a very ‘Letting Space’ way of working. This is a quite small shed-like 1912 observatory with a beautiful wooden dome looking out over the city - it’s a fantastic place. What I’ve brought to it is an existing project, partly now being funded by the Wellington City Council Public Art Panel, that has been running for a number of years.

"It is an artwork called The Weight of Information. Basically, it’s a very small satellite which is put into orbit. I’m using a tiny two-centimetre satellite as material for a participatory artwork. The project was first launched in 2014 when I was living in Whanganui and we did about 20 different international events around this, the satellite launch, some involving schools, some in galleries. The satellite did get into space but unfortunately it malfunctioned and so we will launch again later this year.

“The observatory is the perfect place for this project because the satellite itself is in space – you can’t see it, it’s spinning around the Earth – but what you can do is track it. I am building a robot radio antennae in the dome and staging a series of participatory events called Meet to Delete. The idea is that the satellite is like a tragic hero in the classical sense who is unfortunately pulled back down to earth in a tragic death spiral by gravity, so he is trying to stay in space, trying to ascend by forgetting things. He collects information through sensors, getting in all the information he can and immediately erases it. He hopes by deleting all this information that he’s going to ascend into the heavens, in some kind of anti-rational transcendence. On Earth I’m inviting people to the observatory to shred their documents to make the world a little lighter.

“We ran these events before and people turned up with whatever personal information they wanted to let go of. It was kind of cathartic for people. They brought quite personal documents, including bank statements with someone’s first ever mortgage payments and someone else burnt four boxes of documents of the legal proceedings of their divorce. All going well sometime after July this rocket will again launch and the satellite will go into space and flawlessly work!

“It may sound silly but there is a serious edge to it. It’s not a science residency but its a project that aims to do speculative physics with social commentary and art involving the public.”

Leo Gene Peters (A Slightly Isolated Dog) at Creative HQ: “We became artists in residence at Creative HQ mid last year, when Stefan the CE there had a conversation with Brian Steele from Giddy Up about wanting an artist in residence. Since its been a pretty loose, organic process. We said that we really didn’t know what we would do and he said “Sounds good, let’s figure it out”. I’ve been in and out of the city so I’ve come back in and out and we’ve done little bits and pieces of work over that time facilitating revisioning they’ve been doing.

“It’s been a long term vision for us and our producer Angela Green - who is just finishing her MBA after years working in the theatre as an actor and in producing and arts management - to explore how arts and business can talk to one another. We need to have a meaningful crossover and relationship between art and business, because there’s not. So we’ve been dreaming about how we do that. The residency at Creative HQ is a perfect fit. It’s nice to get to know people and slowly connect, and now we’ve come back we are running a project with them where we are creating a professional development programme which is also a show, over eight weeks with their staff and different clients - different accelerator and incubator programmes.

“We kind of know what the form of it is going to be, we’re getting closer, but its a pilot programme for us and for them. We’ve had lots of conversations and they are very supportive and keen to see it as one aspect in the future of how they want their company to go – using creative resources, artists and different modes of working to grow and progress their own models. That’s it in a nutshell.

“We’re going to do a show in progress in May – whew! – in the little studio at BATS. The work is very conversational, so the entire notion of the work is that we come together and we have a show but we use the form of conversation as a storytelling tool as well as a way of meeting, evolving it as we go. So for the first half hour with you it may feel like we’re just having a conversation and then we find ways of incorporating material into existing structures. That’s roughly the form we are exploring as we do this residency.”

What might these residencies evolve into? Thinking ahead, thinking big.

Leo Gene Peters: “I’d like to be making with Creative HQ in partnership for the rest of our career. That’s what I’d like - working in partnership as much as is useful for us and them, and so we can also roll out programmes on our own. I’ve done a lot of work with communities over the last 20 years, lots of youth focused stuff, with refugees and we worked in residence with Hospice for a while, which was beautiful, mindblowing. To me that work is about how we use what we do to give us different kind of places where we can reflect, celebrate together and meaningfully connect. Where we can sit together, sit with our loneliness and not be ashamed of it – about how we are all lost. That is so useful for me and that we can do that with a pretty cool, progressive group. Its lovely to just feel them shift a little bit, to feel the plates shift in the way people listen to each other.”

Julian Priest:  “It’s probably the most productive space I’ve been in in Wellington. I think it’s something to do with it being a beautiful place, with amazing support. We haven’t got a financial arrangement yet but the support of the crew up there is fantastic, a very generous organisation. In terms of the future, it’s very unusual for me to be in residency because I never go to them these days. I used to go on short ones, but with a family it’s harder to find the time. There are some fantastic overseas art/science residences, like with the Hadron Collider, at the South Pole, with the ESA. So a residency that I can do in the city is a real treat.

“As far as the observatory goes, while I would love to stay there forever my vision for it is more as a site for other people to be resident. This is the crash test dummy phase for whether the Thomas King could become a permanent art/science residency space. I don’t think there’s another permanent one in New Zealand (there are a couple of short term art science residencies of which SCANZ is the best known). It’s a really good site for it because there’s the Botanic Garden for the life/ science side, the Carter observatory with the physical sciences and astronomy and its public science communication agenda, then there’s the Metservice just down the road, and it’s almost on the Victoria University Kelburn campus.”

It’s the ability to model vulnerability with strength. Of modelling that process of risking and it falling down and then asking why did it fall down.

On the tension between being given a space you’re able to do what you wish with, as a form of social generosity and working with an organisation with a need for outputs, structure and giving back value.

Leo-Gene Peters: “We’ve been dreaming and thinking about this kind of residency for... well I mean we were resident at Downstage Theatre before it fell over. And while we there we were exploring how we could work with people there. So we’ve always been about the outcome. Like, how do you frame it so that its outcome focussed? How can you speak in a language that people in the corporate world know what you’re on about? We’re still working out how we do it. How we can be practical and specific and responsive enough.

“These guys (Creative HQ) get it because they’re agile, but it’s still them saying “can you send us your blurb, its due on Thursday?” The thing is we can, but its just trying to articulate it. Ultimately I want to say “just come” - that we’ll take them through our process, but I’m not sure if anyone will turn up. If they don’t know what they’re doing they’re apprehensive. And of course if you’re trying to sell a programme to someone, they want to know an outcome.  It’s about how you respond to the specific needs of a specific group.”

On the odd situation of being in an office and going up to people going ‘Hi, I’m your artist in residence”

Leo-Gene Peters: “Well in this instance they’re used to this kind of stuff, they really like it. Some of them come up and introduce themselves to us. But it is a question of how you interrupt their day. Like they’re in the middle of that email they have to send because their deadlines up and I come up. So it’s constantly feeling out how we do more of that - because its useful to break the day. Not to mess with people, but to to take a moment before we move onto the next thing. Its working out how you propose it.

Julian Priest: “In terms of immediate value we’ve been trying to get the building fit for purpose. We’ve been looking at how to renovate so it can be activated again, because it hasn’t been used for quite a few years.”

“Using an organisation as material. I’m trying to imagine what that might look like in some some other organisations, like a government department where you’re messing with the bureaucracy slightly!

“My works often have this participatory structure but while there’s no script they are authored. For instance this one we did up in the Hutt in the water festival Common Ground, we built a public access water testing laboratory. People would bring water samples in, and we’d test them together and build a map of local water quality. So I was acting like a scientist and I got everyone to put lab coats on and be scientists and do some science, do some micro-biology. But I don’t think I’ve ever done that within an existing organisation. At the observatory it’s been quite informal and is evolving, but it’s more physically like trying to start a new business or gallery space together. We’ve just been cleared for public use and we’re now in the process of starting to invite people in.”

Leo Gene Peters: “At Creative HQ they’re interested in the creative problem solving. In being able to revision the thing or shift process drastically, on a dime. To risk something. And then fail, and be okay with failing, and then go ‘Cool, how do we evolve’. That’s the thing I think they like about us. They want to work differently.

“I pitched it once to them as a moment where we’re vulnerable together. It’s like the story of me walking into the first session I ever ran with Creative HQ going to myself ‘they’re all going to figure out I’m a fraud!’ And I’m like “Outcomes” and “KPIs” to them, and then I just stopped and went to myself ‘you’re not doing that’. So we started playing games and they were reticent at first and then really got into it. It’s that moment of being able to go “I don’t know what I’m doing. Has anyone else been in a moment where they don’t know what they’re doing?” And people, say, yeah, all the time. We pretend all the time.

“So, they’re really excited by that I think – the ability to not have to pretend that you know what you’re doing and figure out how you do it together. It’s the ability to model vulnerability with strength. Of modelling that process of risking and it falling down and then asking why did it fall down.”

 

On producing across arts disciplines

A short podcast: the producers behind two of the most exciting out of the box arts events in Wellington in recent years, Litcrawl and Lōemis, Andrew Laking and Claire Mabey aka Pirate and Queen talk about running an independent arts production company, making it sustainable and making it financial (or not!).

The conversation chaired by Mark Amery and held at Toi Poneke is part of the Urban Dreams Monthly series, which has a mission to help empower and provide networking for artists interested in working outside of conventional venues in Wellington. To keep in touch with upcoming lunches join our Facebook page. You can keep up to date with Toi Poneke here.  

On performing in public space: Joel Baxendale (Binge Culture Collective) and Robyn Jordaan

Recorded as part of Performance Art Week Aotearoa late 2017 at Te Aro Park, Wellington, original site of Te Aro Pa and a public artwork by Shona Rapira Davies, Aucland performance artist Robyn Jordaan and Joel Baxendale of Binge Culture Collective briefly discuss the strengths and politics of working in public space. Jordaan was in Wellington to perform at Performance Art Week in Island Bay Park, while Binge Culture had returned to Wellington from Edinburgh with their park-based participatory work Ancient Shrines and Half-Truths. Binge Culture Collective’s next production is with Barbarian Productions It’s a Trial in Auckland on 22 February 2018. Our apologies for some Wellington public space wind and traffic noise.

The conversation was part of Urban Dreams a monthly conversation series, organised by Urban Dream Brokerage creating conversation and networking around arts across disciplines working in new spaces. Image: Robyn Jordaan, by Gabrielle McKone. A library of pocasts of the initial discussions in the series can be found here.

On creating collaborative creative space: Jessica Halliday and Sam Trubridge

Jessica Halliday (FESTA Christchurch) and Sam Trubridge (Performance Arcade and the Playground, Wellington) discuss the creation by artists of common collaborative development and presentation spaces, the dearth of affordable spaces for artists in Christchurch, past spaces Performance Lab and the Print Factory in Wellington and issues today with finding space. This discussion was held as part of Shared Lines: Wellington with dialogue between Christchurch and Wellington. The programme for Performance Arcade 2018 may be found here and more info on FESTA here.

On creating enduring artist run space with Jo Randerson and Jordana Bragg

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“…we gave ourselves a name and that amplified our purpose” Jordana Bragg

“…find ways to take those financial stresses off of yourself because they tax your mental bandwidth” Jo Randerson

In this edition of our 2017 monthly Urban Dreams series, empowering artists to work as part of their city, we share a conversation between Wellington theatremaker and Vogemorn Bowling Club artist space cofounder Jo Randerson and artist and artist space meanwhile co-founder Jordana Bragg. Held at meanwhile gallery Level 2, 99 Willis Street, they discuss the issues around creating enduring artist space and treating art as a business. Technical issues have see us move from podcast to text format for this month. 

Jo: Can I start by just saying that it’s so cool that you’ve set up Meanwhile. I love sitting on these cushion works [by George Banach-Salas]. That’s one thing I love about artist-led spaces: that things are done differently.

Jordana: Thanks! To start, I see from your website that you have a crest and in that crest it says “use what you have”. Can you elaborate: what in Barbarian Productions have you learnt to use? Is it about using anything you can get your hands on to function?

Jo:   Yeah, use what is there rather than complaining about what isn’t there - or some mythical or imaginary thing that might be there in three years. What are the things that are literally all around you? Including people - their energies and interests - and the spaces around you. Like, before, you showed me the bank vault here at meanwhile. Exciting, so many ideas there. Artists are good at using spaces and finding value in things that might not be seen as having value or as beautiful by others.

Barbarian, we are a theatre based company, we use arts and creative techniques to have conversations that can be difficult. We recently worked with Jason Muir on Political Cuts where the political conversations aren’t oppositional; aren’t so singular - they can be multiple and work in lots of different ways. That we can bring more people into the conversation than just a group of white men talking about politics. That’s an example of work we like to do.

We’ve taken over an old bowling club in Vogelmorn and I guess that’s “use what you have” because it was an empty space there we’d walk past. We knew that there weren’t that many spaces for performing artists - that people were working out of their garages and living rooms. I have lots of friends who have the keys to their parents’ workplace. It gives me joy to know that **** offices after 6pm provide this kind of space!

The bowling club is a creative and community space, and I’m interested in this word ‘enduring’ because I’m hoping that this space might be more enduring than other places we’ve set up. But you only learn from setting things up.

Jordana: Was Barbarian set up in 2001?

Jo: Yes

Jordana: Because I wanted to ask about that - as someone who has set up space for creative use. Since 2001 what sorts of development has there been for Barbarian in having or finding physical space? What is the difference between 2001 and now?

Jo: I formed the company really to give myself a sense of security, because then it was only me. I was taking my solo shows around and just being Jo didn’t feel like it had much authority. When I called myself a company suddenly I was a thing, a legitimate body. But then earlier than that we were part of a space called WACT – we formed a charitable trust in the late 90s. Wellington Artists Charitable Trust. There was a space opposite Te Papa where a dance school used to be. It was a huge open floor space and about nine artists took it over: Rachel Davies, Loren Taylor, Taika Waititi, myself, Adam Gardiner, a bunch of us. We were really terrified to take it over because of the responsibility of it. We signed a lease and all had to provide $50 a week rent, which was really so much then with no income. But we set it up and ran this beautiful space and there was a studio next door where cool musicians played. And then yeah those buildings got knocked down but it was an interesting experiment. We were scared but we did it and were very proud. Then a lot of that energy went into the beginning of Toi Poneke, the arts centre, which was not a space that worked for us.

But going back to your question, the company went from being me to being about other people, working with others and now we are about growing other people as well - helping artists grow sustainable careers, which I am passionate about. I feel tired of having poor conversations with my colleagues. I feel tired of us bemoaning that. I think there are many things we can do to improve that situation and advocate for more support. Does that answer the trajectory question? It’s been long and slow in a way. Where do you feel with your trajectory?!

Jordana: Oo! I think we’ve had an interesting history so far. We started last July and were originally based at 35 Victoria Street (next to the police station), which was also an interesting location. But the idea of enduring was not something we were ever thinking of - hence naming ourselves Meanwhile. We were very aware that the physical space we held was indeterminate, we were not sure how long it would last. We were making it up as we went along but, as you say, we gave ourselves a name and that amplified our purpose and didn’t make it about our singular personhood as much.

In February 2017 we were told our original space was being sold on and we had to quickly think about whether we could or wanted to find a new space. But we had already done something that was beneficial for Meanwhile, but not so beneficial for us as co-founders, which was an open call-for proposals - right before we found out we had to leave. So we felt dedication to those who had visited the space in 2016, our studio artist’s and those who’d applied. Seeing that interest, that was scary for a time and I guess we have hit a few speed bumps along the way.

Jo: I like the idea of an entity where all the energy is going towards that and the proposals -but then there’s the practical thing that personally we don’t always have the space to cope with it.

Jordana: The point of naming the gallery was that it becomes bigger than ourselves and it did snowball rather quickly, which was fantastic, people were very keen to get involved. We operate as a gallery and studio space, that’s very important to us as a model. The maximum amount of studio artists we’ve had has been 15 people at one time, helping to cover the costs.

Jo: So the artists who use the studio…

Jordana: …pay a portion of the rent and expenses, yes.

Jo: That’s a really cool model, but its unusual because I find that funders are keen to support lots of venues or nice spaces that people can come into that look good, that flashy side of art, which is cool but there are other spaces that are actually about making work and they’re not so keen to support those spaces.

What’s happened in the performing arts is that there are a lot of different venues that have been built and set up but they don’t really fit our needs as a performing artist. Toi Poneke is a really great building and its good for ongoing organisations like DANZ, Shakespeare Globe, Arts Access, but definitely for us as performing artists the rooms aren’t big enough and also the bookings preclude full time usage because they are used for other weekly events.

So, when we set up at the Bowling Club I was very clear that for performing arts bookings we needed to keep the rent accessible, which we have done, even though we could be charging more for the space. And two, that we don’t allow anything else in during the 9 to 5 hours  - well, we do occasionally if we don’t have any rehearsals in there, but we don’t allow regular events to book in there. We do have a hall next door which can in fact be booked in for events by the hour.

I find often, that in designing new building, eg. new events space they try to be everything for all people and they end up not meeting the needs of artists - however much consultation there seems to be. So we have a lot of large event venues in Wellington but artists can’t afford to use them.

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Jordana: One thing that I’m grappling with as well - which you mention in the Spinoff interview as well I read - is that to create an enduring space you need people who are willing to drive it. There’s an element of self-sacrifice to it, which sounds kind of gross! I mean, it’s a lot to do this sometimes.

I was wondering your views on starting to see it as a business, because that’s something that we’re sort of looking at here. Taking it away from the personal, branding and making it ‘professional’. I resisted the idea of business for a long time with the original meanwhile because I found it difficult to balance friendship and professionality, as a co-founder.

What do you think about turning it into a business? I was reluctant but then I recognised that if I kept up that reluctance there wouldn’t be anything to be reluctant about, because there would be no structure and it would fall apart.

Jo: Yeah that’s right. There are words we have different emotional reactions to them - ‘business’ is one of those.

Jordana: They just don’t teach you that at art school either. Nobody ever said ‘this is a business’, but of course when you put art into the world pretty much everything is, including spaces like this.

Jo: I don’t know if it should be taught at school or not. I definitely agree that its missing and that when we come out of institutions I see in the performing arts that people can be enthusiastic about being a star but they don’t know how to run themselves as a business. Personally I’m not scared of that word – I’m not saying you are – but I’m fine with it, whether it means infrastructure or organisation. It’s like that word economics, ‘how do you run this?’

Artists are also very practical people so, how do we provide what we need to survive? Whether that’s food, or somewhere to stay; how can we set up our place so we can do what we want to do and don’t have those stresses? I just think: find ways to take those financial stresses off of yourself because they tax your mental bandwidth – they are tiring. There’s a great book called Scarcity that talks about how your capacity is limited when you’re under stress. When you’re under financial stress it really limits your capacity to be the full creative person you want to be.

I see it as a real lack and I’m advocating to council at the moment that they do something to support the arts and how we develop ourselves as businesses – maybe we need another word. Artists are poor, and why are they always poor? In this ‘creative city’ why aren’t we putting some infrastructure in the same way we support I.T.? It’s like you have an awesome space like Creative HQ, “that sounds like my place! I’m a creative artist!” but it’s not my place it’s for I.T., and that’s cool but why not support also how the arts grow and develop?

I want something that helps us grow our businesses the way, our way, we need to set them up. I sometimes go to these business courses and personally I sometimes feel that I’m different, that I don’t quite fit into the model. The course leaders keep saying “well, I don’t know how it works in the arts”. That’s what I think we should really get some support around and advocate for – and help each other - around.

Images: Michael McDonald

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On taking care of each other with Herbee Bartley and Peter Deckers

“I saw graduates floating about trying to find a voice and using all their actual creative energy to survive. There was hardly any support.” Peter Deckers

‘As long as it’s an experience that fulfils who you are, or your heart. I love Grace Jones quote “If the fuck don’t feel right don’t fuck it!” … If it doesn’t feel solid, or feel right or doesn’t resonate with who you want to be or have been, don’t do it for the sake of it.” Herbee Bartley

In this pod discussion at a monthly gathering for artists across all disciplines interested in working outside conventional venues we hear from producer Herbee Bartley (Massey College of Creative Arts Pasifika Advisor and co-founder Kava Club) and ‘jewellery activist’ Peter Deckers (Handshake) talk on creating artist support networks beyond institutions, mentoring, current arts sector fatigue around PR and fundraising and seeding artist-run collectives rather than becoming big bodies.

The next Urban Dreams Monthly in Wellington is Tuesday 19 September 12.30pm at meanwhile gallery Level 2, 99 Willis Street. In conversation Jordana Bragg and Jo Randerson. on "owning It: creating enduring artist-run spaces".

On Mana Whenua with Liz Mellish at the Wharewaka

If art has a role to play in creating public space, how might it better acknowledge the ground on which it takes place? Its environment, its heritage, its politics. How might it more deeply offer alternatives to the treatment of land as an exchangeable commodity?  In this short lunchtime conversation at the Wharewaka on Wellington’s waterfront we start this discussion with Liz Mellish on the meaning of mana whenua, the role of Te Atiawa ki te Whanganui a Tara (the people who lived around the harbour) and ways artists might better work with mana whenua.  “Sometimes it feels a bridge too far for people,” says Liz, “and in our country it shouldn’t be like that, it should be easy.”

Liz Mellish is a director of the Wharewaka and Mana Whenua o Poneke, chair of Palmerston North Maori Reserves Trust and member of Urban Dream Brokerage’s Wellington advisory panel. She is in conversation with Letting Space’s Mark Amery.

This is the first of a series of planned recorded monthly conversations in Wellington conducted by Letting Space’s Urban Dream Brokerage service, with support from Wellington City Council and Wellington Community Trust. They are recorded over lunches open to all attend which aim to support artists across disciplines playing an active role in the city outside of conventional venues.