Museums conference at Te Manawa
This year, for the first time, Te Manawa will host the Museums Aotearoa conference. The theme of the 2017 event is he waka eke noa, or ‘‘we’re all in this together’’ with the focus on how museums can work toward being the most inclusive places they can.
‘‘This is a critical theme near and dear to us,’’ says Te Manawa Chief Executive Andy Lowe.
‘‘People are at the heart of everything we do – from preserving the antiquities that tell unique and personal stories, to facilitating access to them in new and innovative ways.’’
‘‘Inclusive’’ means a lot more than just inviting everyone in and making them welcome; our spaces must be accessible too. Measures to achieve this could be as simple as making sure audio-visual content is subtitled, or as complex as an elaborate event centred on and celebrating one of our marginalised communities.
‘‘It’s also important that the community feels some ownership of the events and exhibitions that we put on, or even drive these themselves,’’ Lowe says.
‘‘Having the community get behind such fantastic stories is the greatest way to show that they feel included and passionate about the role of modern museums in our neighbourhoods.’’
As Te Manawa strives to be a ‘‘museum without boundaries,’’ inclusivity is one of its core goals. This extends behind the scenes, too. How Te Manawa assembles and catalogues its collections is just as important as how they are displayed.
Conference sessions will address Maori and Pasifika perspectives, as well as those of children and the disability community.
The conference runs from May 22-24 at the Palmerston North Convention Centre, with some events taking place at Te Manawa. The programme is not restricted to museum professionals – anyone can register.
This can be done at www.museumsaotearoa.org.nz where more information about speakers and the full programme can be found.
HeAra Tae, in 2014, wasa massive event created by children, people with disabilities and senior citizens working with REACT. Photo: UDOVONMULERT