Symposium 2016

Symposium 2016

ST PAUL St Gallery at AUT University

Symposium participants at Local Time: Piha (21-Aug-2015, 1900 +1200), 2015.
May 30, 2016
Symposium 2016

July 14–16, 2016

ST PAUL St Gallery
AUT University School of Art + Design
Level 1 WM Building
40 St Paul Street
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Aotearoa New Zealand

ST PAUL St’s 2016 Symposium 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 artists 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 Makaere 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 that was a core focus of 2015, this programme centres on the idea of inherent 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)

The symposium opens with a keynote from Binna Choi, Director of Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory in Utrecht. The following day includes sessions by invited speakers: Albert Refiti, Alison Jones, Grace Samboh and Johnson Witehira, after which participants will travel to a local marae to stay overnight. For the second day we are working with Desna Whaanga-Schollum and Ngā Aho towards a wānanga, a “space or forum for immersive learning, a meeting of people […] based on Māori values and tikanga. Within the creative professions, wānanga may be used as a co-creative process to bring together a wide range of people for open-ended discussion about a specific topic or range of topics, to arrive at a deeper collective understanding.” (3)

This is the fifth ST PAUL St Symposium, looking at issues of cultural context for curatorial practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, within the wider Asia Pacific. 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.

On exhibition during the symposium is Dieneke Jansen: Dwelling on the Stoep, which focuses on three “failed” social housing complexes—Marunda, Jakarta; Bijlmermeer, Amsterdam; and Greys Avenue, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The project’s emphasis is on the socio-political aspects of public space. Underpinning it is a political question of justice as it attends to the distribution of space, agency, and emancipation within low-income communities.

ST PAUL St Gallery is a non-collecting gallery based within the School of Art + Design, AUT University. The Gallery is dedicated to the development of contemporary art and design through an international programme of exhibitions, events, symposia and publications. ST PAUL St Gallery embraces one of the primary instructions for universities in the New Zealand Education Act (1989), that they “accept a role as critic and conscience of society.” We also interrogate the longstanding proposition that the arts have a particular capacity to speak critically about society.

For more information, contact Director Charlotte Huddleston [email protected]


(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.

(3) Desna Whaanga Schollum, Biddy Livesey, Keriata Stuart and Caroline Robinson, Ngā Aho.


The 2016 Curatorial Symposium is presented in partnership with:


ST PAUL St Gallery Symposium 2016

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