• ST PAUL St Curatorial Symposium

    This year’s symposium is focused on expanding an ethics of curatorial practice, with a particular emphasis on alternative modes of education, research, and indigenous knowledge. We begin here by asking questions like: What is the relationship between ethics, education, indigeneity and the institutionalised practices of curating? Can the institution exert moral agency? How does this change the way we practice as curators and researchers: how we look, speak, read, write?

    In the Aotearoa New Zealand context, 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, and that curatorial discourse is in large part a legacy of our colonial past. It is important to stress that the conversation about indigenous knowledge is both particular to this place, and in common with other indigenous peoples, and is interconnected with conversations about alternative educational methodology more broadly. With regard to the latter, we have at ST PAUL St Gallery through recent exhibition programming and related research attempted to focus on creative practices of knowledge, and on knowledge that “does rather than is”, as fundamental.

    We turn to an alterative conception of education as the centre of this discussion, one which prioritises not information or formal knowledges: market-ready products. Rather, as Irit Rogoff has written, it may exist in forms of coming together “not predetermined by outcomes but by directions”.[1] A local touchstone is the Māori term, practice and concept of wānanga, a forum for discussion and exchange with the aim of arriving at a deeper understanding.[2] Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal writes that wānanga is “the word we can most closely associate with the idea of the creation of new knowledge”.[3] An understanding of how this knowledge comes into being is a crucial part of the Māori worldview. It is not something produced; rather “the pursuit of knowledge concerns the progressive revelation of depth and understanding about the world rather than the construction of new knowledge as one constructs an object.”[4]

    The possibilities opened up by thinking about knowledge as distinct from production, as existing between the analytical and the experiential, the known and the imagined, is primary within a broad ground of discussion for the symposium. This implicates alternative perspectives on education, learning, modes of knowing, all through the lens of a “powerful horizontality” and in critique of the abiding institutional (academic, economic) paradigm.[5]

    The structure of this year’s Symposium is integral to its content focus. Subsequent to the keynote presentation, we plan to spend one day in the auditorium with formal presentations (hospitality by collaborative group Public Share). The second day’s proceedings will take place on the West coast, facilitated by the collective Local Time (details below).

    Thursday 20 August: KEYNOTE LECTURE
    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki auditorium

    Friday 21 August: AUDITORIUM
    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki auditorium

    4 x 1 hour lectures with responses by symposium conveners Abby Cunnane and Charlotte Huddleston, who will also facilitate audience discussion.

    ‘Carried Forward’, shared refreshments: morning coffee and lunch event by Public Share (

    5.30pm head to Piha on the West Coast, 1 hour from the city. Shared dinner and overnight stay at Piha.

    All attendees welcome but you must make own arrangements for transport and accommodation.

    Saturday 22 August: RETREAT
    Full day at Piha, informal discussion and walking, facilitated by Local Time (

    The day will include discussions born out of the previous day’s topics, walking, swimming (for the hardy), eating…..

    All symposium attendees are welcome to join this day. If you didn’t stay overnight you are still welcome to drive out for the day.

    Exact locations and logistics, including registration fee, shortly to be confirmed. Join the event to receive updates, or to register go to:

    National Services Te Paerangi is pleased to support the St Paul St Gallery 2015 Curatorial Symposium by offering travel subsidies up to a value of $300. See the Travel Subsidy Grant page for more information and to download an application form. Please apply directly to

    Local Time is a four-person collective – Danny Butt, Jon Bywater, Alex Monteith and Natalie Roberston – based in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Local Time has been a collective since 2007, usually working in collaboration with maintainers of local knowledge in specific sites. Our individual practices engage in debates concerning colonial histories and cross-cultural exchange through time-based media art projects, contemporary art teaching and critical writing. Our shared past includes two international symposia, which attempted to incorporate bi-cultural principles in their staging as well as in their thematics, establishing settings for exchange and dialogue shaped by tikanga Māori. This genealogy reflects our attempt to reconcile our experiences of colonial and indigenous knowledges and temporalities, the connection between the aesthetic and the political, and with the way the cultural is political.

    Public Share is a seven member collective that situates projects within everyday social structures in order to engage in making, sharing and exchange. Sharing initially occurs through a collective process of making, which then extends to a socially engaged event. Of particular interest is the relating of site (or location), place and production through a cycle of exchanges – discussion, negotiation, collection, testing, making and sharing. Public Share includes Monique Redmond, Harriet Stockman, Kirsten Dryburgh, Joe Prisk, Deborah Rundle, Mark Schroder and Kelsey Stankovich.

    [1] Irit Rogoff, Free Accessed 23 November 2014.
    [2] Wānanga is both a noun – seminar, conference, forum – and a verb – to meet and discuss, confer. See:
    [3] Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal Indigenous ways of Knowing Accessed 12 June 2014.
    [4] Ibid. Royal.
    [5] Ibid. Rogoff.

    Image: Local Time – Horotiu (16-Apr-2012, 0900 +1200), 2012.


    Includes Léuli Eshraghi


    20 August – 22 August 2015


    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Piha

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