Category Archives: News

Create1World Moving to Electronic Conference

Kia ora koutou, because your health and safety is our top priority, we will not be proceeding with a physical gathering for Create1World this year.

However, we’ve always had a cutting-edge electronic component to the conference – and we think it is still very important and inspirational to hear from, and support, the voices of our artists at this time.

So we’re working on a plan to expand the electronic part of the conference so that you can still get access to great creative activism wisdom from wherever you are. We’ll keep you posted.

We are also still happy to accept your entries to the competition. We believe creativity is an important way to process everything that is happening. However, the electronic version that you send us will be your judged entry – there will be no live finals.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/create1world/

Stay safe and stay creative. ❤️

Create1World 2020 Competition Now Open!

Calling all creative rangatahi! We know you have great ideas about how to make the world a better place. Turn them into a short film, poem, story, song or piece of theatre, and you could win cash prizes.  Check out http://sites.massey.ac.nz/expressivearts/create1world-2020/  for all the details of the 2020 Create1World Competition.  It’s NOW OPEN and you have until June 2, 2020 to get your entries in.

 

Create1World – an antidote to climate grief

Activist/panellist Zimbabwean-Kiwi Makanaka Tuwe at the 2016 Create1World event.

Activist/panellist Zimbabwean-Kiwi Makanaka Tuwe at the 2016 Create1World event.

Climate grief and climate anxiety are real for this generation, say organisers of a Massey University event bringing together youth to share creative ideas and solutions to the climate crisis.

Hundreds of secondary school pupils will converge at Create1World conferences at Massey’s Auckland and Wellington campuses this month to take part in workshops, online and live panel discussions as well as view performances by poets, film-makers and musicians. The aim of the event, now in its fourth year, is to inspire and foster hope among young people in the face of daunting global issues confronting humanity, from climate change impacts to poverty, deforestation, plastic pollution and social inequality.

Create1World is hosted by Massey’s School of English and Media Studies and the New Zealand Centre for Global Studies. Co-organisers Dr Hannah August and Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley say many young people they have spoken to during the year are feeling angry and frustrated.

“Climate grief is real and it has many of them in the grip of fear and anxiety,” Dr Tilley says. Taking action “is a logical and healthy response to feeling frustrated and disempowered, which is just one of the many reasons why the school strikes are so important,” she says.

“Creative action is also an important form of response. It can be accessible to more people – not everybody is able to participate in a protest march – and it can help process emotional responses through catharsis or inspiration.”

Winners of the Create1World Activism and Global Citizenship competition will be announced at each of the conferences (Wellington on November 14 and Auckland on November 21). Finalists’ work includes slam poetry, music, theatre, a poem in te reo Māori, and speeches on topics ranging from refugees and climate change to sexual consent.

Professor Chris Gallavin (left) with Fatimah Khan, from Newlands College, reading her creative writing in 2018. She is a finalist this year too.

Professor Chris Gallavin (left) with Fatimah Khan, from Newlands College, reading her creative writing in 2018. She is a finalist this year too.

Art to displace fear
Dr August says using creativity to channel fear and concern about pressing global issues helps by bringing a human focus and increasing awareness. “Art and creativity can make a difference both to the person doing the creative work and to the audience they share it with.”

Wellington highlights include creative activist Waylon Edwards, of Whakatōhea, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Tai and Ngāti Hine, and Diane Wong, who will beam in live from New York via an interactive video feed to talk about her work with Chinatown Art Brigade, an intergenerational cultural collective that uses the power of art to advance social justice.

Wellington-based actor, musician, writer and director Moana Ete, of Ngai Tahu and Samoan descent, and Abhishek Majumdar, an environmental and human rights playwright who will participate via a live feed from the United Arab Emirates, will also be on panel discussions.

Wellington attendees will also be treated to a Climate Change Theatre Action demonstration performance by Massey University Expressive Arts students.

Workshops at Wellington include feminist media making with Dr Claire Henry, broadcast skills with Ilja Herb, performance poetry with Dr Tilley, and creative nonfiction with Associate Professor Ingrid Horrocks, all staff members in the School of English & Media Studies.

Highlights for Auckland are Robbie Nicol, aka White Man Behind a Desk, who makes videos for social media to raise political awareness and engagement, and Alice Canton, an award-winning theatre director known for her work using theatre to tell the stories of Auckland’s Chinese community. Workshops by Massey’s award-winning creative writers and theatre practitioners, including Professor Bryan Walpert, Dr Jack Ross, Dr Rand Hazou and Stuart Hoar, are also on the agenda.

Secondary school pupils or teachers interested in attending Create1World are invited to register now, on: http://sites.massey.ac.nz/expressivearts/2019/03/06/create1world-2019/

or check Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/create1world/

#create1world

Creating waves, performing change: Climate Change Theatre Action Aotearoa 2019

Key dates of Climate Change Theatre Action AotearoaPresented by the Wellington Creativity in the Community class of 2019, Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) Aotearoa 2019 – Ngaru Ngaru – is a multi-disciplinary fusion of theatre, performance art and practical action on climate change.

CCTA Aotearoa 2019 is part of the global Climate Change Theatre Action movement led by The Arctic Cycle, the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and Theatre Without Borders. CCTA is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings.

Our CCTA Aotearoa event features four official Climate Change Theatre Action 2019 plays: Abhishek Majumdar’s ‘The Arrow’; Jordan Hall’s ‘The Donation’; Matthew Paul Olmos’ ‘Staring her Down’ and Stephen Sewell’s ‘The Reason’. The programme also features a zero-waste, anti-fast-fashion-inspired performance art promenade piece utilising litter found on our campus. Plus, two brand new devised performance poetry and movement works in which Māori and non-Māori students are working together to express how learning from Indigenous Māori values of spiritual connectedness with land, and kaitiakitanga (guardianship), can help us all reconceptualise the path forward for transforming the way we live.

Our event acknowledges the Te Reo Māori (Indigenous language) concept of ‘Ngaru Ngaru’, which translates roughly as ‘Riding the Wave’ or ‘Surfing the Wave’, but could also imply ‘Being the Wave’. Ngaru Ngaru is the third iteration of Massey University School of English & Media Studies at Wellington’s creative response to climate change. In 2015 we delivered ‘Waves’, starting ripples of climate change conversation and action within the community. In 2017 we followed up with ‘Still Waving’, to inspire our audiences that there is still hope in addressing the effects of climate change – things are dire, but we are not drowned yet.

This year, with ‘Ngaru Ngaru – Surfing the Wave’, we embrace the idea that now a global wave of people power is building, and there is a groundswell of action and hope that we can all find collective strength from. In our commitment to our creative work, we have been inspired by the School Strikes for Climate, Extinction Rebellion and similar groups. We are adding our creative voices to their courageous action, to inspire through arts, performance, and provocative street theatre. Together we are a global wave of change on many fronts.

a global wave of people power is building

As well as being a creative intervention, our event takes practical action by delivering on measurable targets of reducing, reusing, recycling and repairing to reduce our waste and carbon footprint wherever possible. Anything remaining in our calculations we are offsetting with native tree plantings (come to our events and you could get a free kawakawa seedling!).

We are documenting and tracking our carbon reduction efforts in order to develop and test a shareable ‘Carbon Neutral Theatre’ template for other future creative events.

Performances:
– Wednesday October 16, 12.30pm, 5D14 Theatre Laboratory, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa i Te Upoko O te Ika (Massey University Wellington Campus), Aotearoa (New Zealand). The full show with all our CCTA plays plus the devised and performance art works.

– Thursday October 17, 5.30pm, 5D14 Theatre Laboratory, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa i Te Upoko O te Ika (Massey University Wellington Campus), Aotearoa (New Zealand). The full show with all our CCTA plays plus the devised and performance art works. Also features readings from our creative nonfiction class (who have also been working on ecological creativity) plus free vegan pizza for everyone!

– Saturday October 19, various waterfront & CBD locations, including Parliament Gardens, Lambton Quay and Cuba Mall, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington City), Aotearoa (New Zealand). A selection of our devised and performance art pieces translated into vibrant street performance. (Come for as little or as much as you like! Follow us on Facebook for exact times and locations!)

Follow us at https://www.facebook.com/ngarungaru.ccta/ for more details and updates counting down to Ngaru Ngaru – CCTA Aotearoa 2019. Join us, and be part of the tide of transformation.

Magazine of memories for aged-care residents

Dr Rand Hazou (third on right, back row) with students who created Reminisce.

Meeting residents in an aged care facility and turning their conversations about the past into a magazine of memories proved to be a rewarding project for Massey University students as much as for the elderly residents they befriended in the process.

The Auckland-based expressive arts students enrolled in the Creativity in the Community course – part of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Communication degrees – spent time with residents at Aria Gardens home in Albany to explore their memories of life in the 1950s and ’60s. They collaborated with residents, including two with dementia, to create a one-off magazine, called Reminisce, which they launched earlier this month in a special event at Aria Gardens.

 

Student Ella Brookhammer said at the launch that the students hoped to “enable those that we worked with to look back on their lives fondly and reminisce with us. I personally spoke with Emma, who, as a long-time magazine reader, had many pieces of advice that aided me in the editing process for this project. Her suggestions included having interesting stories and most definitely a puzzle page!”

The magazine included articles and illustrations to reflect the interests and passions of the residents, such as former mechanic Alistair. He shared his memories and knowledge with student Liam Cairns for an article titled ‘A Look Inside the Mechanic’s Workshop’. It focused on the rare Kiwi icon, the Trekka, New Zealand’s only domestically designed and produced car.

In other articles, Patricia shared her travel stories and adventures, including getting engaged to her husband at the Taj Mahal in India under the moonlight. ‘It was the best day of my life,” she says in the article.

Vietnamese-born Hak, who moved to New Zealand in 1982, revealed his secret recipe for his favourite noodle dish, a Vietnamese-Cambodian fusion of herbs, spices, meat and vegetables.

Theatre lecturer and course convener Dr Rand Hazou, a specialist in applied and community theatre, says the course is designed to give students an opportunity to apply their creative skills and knowledge within a specific community context. “Working in groups under close supervision, students conceptualise, design, produce and then evaluate creative art projects within a specific community setting.”

Community engagement

“The course not only provides students with a creative and artistic outlet on a social issue – it helps to develop their project management and stakeholder engagement skills as well as their confidence,” he says. “Ultimately, it aims to show students that they can think of an idea for a creative community project, draft a brief, and apply for funding to help deliver a project to a community in need.”

By partnering with Aria Gardens, an aged care facility close to Massey’s campus in Albany, the students focused on delivering creative interventions that explored issues of positive ageing and dementia, Dr Hazou says.

“According to Alzheimers New Zealand, two out of every three New Zealanders are touched by dementia. For a third of New Zealanders, dementia is one of the things feared most about ageing. The partnership with Aria Gardens gave us a unique opportunity to engage with some of the issues surrounding ageing and dementia, and find creative interventions that challenge negative stereotypes within the wider community.”

Aria Gardens manager Paul France said of the project: “I loved the approach the students took with our residents. It was obvious they probed beneath the surface and understood their passions, motivators and things that bring them happiness.

“You could feel the pride in our residents as their contribution was showcased and it made them feel special being given their own two-page spread in such a prestigious and creative magazine.”

Dr Hazou emphasises that the course is designed to make students not just “work ready”, but what is being called in the pedagogical literature “world ready”. “It aims to develop their capacities as adaptive, engaged and responsible citizens,” he says.

These learning motivations are also reflected in Massey’s innovative BA programme, which was re-designed several years ago to include new core papers on cultural identity and belonging, local and global citizenship, and community engagement.

Published in Channel Magazine, Issue 100 July 2019.

Theatre and masks reveal life behind prison walls

Mask artist Pedro Ilgenfritz and Dr Rand Hazou prepare for the performance of Walls That Talk. (Photo credit: Sarah Woodland).

Stories of prisoners’ lives usually stay locked up – but a group of male prisoners in Auckland has had the chance to study performance techniques and to share their experiences of being behind bars through a special theatre project led by Massey University.

Walls That Talk: Ngā Pātū Kōrero – a documentary theatre project led by applied theatre specialist Dr Rand Hazou – has been in the making for the past few months and culminated in a recent performance to a select audience at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo.

“Despite our high incarceration rates, we hear very little about the reality of prison life, and the personal experiences of those caught up in the criminal justice system remain largely invisible,” Dr Hazou says. “The aim of this theatre project was to challenge this invisibility by allowing the voices of prisoners to be heard on stage.”

 

Arts in prison a human rights issue

The theatre project provided a creative and therapeutic forum for prisoners to reflect on and better understand their life experiences both inside and beyond the prison walls. Dr Hazou says access to the arts in prison is also a human rights issue. “We need to be supporting engagement with the arts in prison because corrections is a system that often de-humanises people,” he says.

Comments from participating prisoners captured the impact of translating their stories into art.

“It added to my confidence,” according to one. “It’s given me more encouragement to do things, so a bit more direction of how I want to do things. So, when I see something, and I put my mind to it, I know I can do it, so it’s given me that motivation to keep pushing on. I didn’t really think I could do this stuff; it’s been a bit of an eye opener for me. It’s given me a bit of a sense of connection too, a sense of unity.”

Māori model of health to build new walls

In creating the production, Dr Hazou developed interview questions based on Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four cornerstones, or sides, of Māori health) – a model developed by Sir Mason Durie.

“We asked questions about physical health, emotional wellbeing, spirit or wairua, and family health. We then worked with [scriptwriter] Stuart Hoar to pull extracts from the transcribed interviews into a play that the men then performed. The play deals with issues of wellbeing from the experience of the prisoners in Te Piririti [sex offender treatment programme at Auckland Prison].”

Dr Hazou, a senior lecturer in theatre in the School of English and Media Studies at the Auckland campus, says the indigenous model of wellbeing, using the metaphor of the wharenui or meeting house with four walls, was central to the theatre work. “These walls include taha tinana [physical health], taha wairua [spiritual health], taha hinengaro [mental/emotional health], and taha whānau [family health]. Within this holistic model, each wall is necessary to the strength of the building.

Walls That Talk: Ngā Pātū Kōrero is part of a larger project called Prison Voices, a creative collaboration with Dr Sarah Woodland from Griffith University in Brisbane. It includes recorded interview material with the participants at Auckland Prison to be edited into a creative audio work or radio drama.

Dr Hazou has worked across a variety of creative and community contexts. These include in Palestine in 2004, when he was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to travel to the Occupied Territories to work as a theatre consultant running workshops for Palestinian youth. His research on asylum seeker and refugee theatre has been published in international journal articles.

He is coordinating the Performing Arts and Justice Symposium (September 5-6) at Massey’s Auckland campus in Albany to bring together performers, arts practitioners, researchers and justice professionals to explore the potential of theatre and the creative arts to transform the justice system.

Visit the webpage for information on keynotes and registration. http://bit.ly/2IR9CuE

Published in The Channel Magazine, Issue 101 August 2019.

By: 
christine@channelmag.co.nz

Horse Comedy a Trifecta for Massey Playwright

Theatre lecturer and playwright Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley has notched up an artistic trifecta with her third consecutive win at the British Theatre Challenge, this time with a dark comedy about the horse racing industry.

Dr Tilley, from the School of English and Media Studies, has won numerous awards locally and internationally for her plays – often using humour and absurdity to address serious social, ethical and environmental issues. She describes her latest winning short play, titled Fabio the Great, “a hilarious horse-eye view on humanity”.

In it, three horse characters muse on and argue about the perils of their existence while providing an comical, yet insightful, commentary on human behaviour. Fabio is the name of the stallion who spouts platitudes about the thrill of winning and being a champion, despite the pain and risks he endures. His equine companions (a mare and a gelding) urge him to escape before he, too, loses his manhood and fighting spirit to the emasculating scalpel.

The 10-minute play (which won Best Play at Pint Sized Plays New Zealand earlier this year in Queenstown) was one of five winners selected from around 300 entries from around the world for the UK competition run by Sky Blue Theatre Company. Each play will be professionally produced, performed and filmed in London in the first week of October, something Dr Tilley is thrilled about as there a few opportunities to professionally stage short plays in New Zealand.

Dr Tilley, who was winner in 2017 with her play Waiting for Go – about people’s addiction to cars – and in 2018 for Bunnies and Wolves – a reality show critique of the public/private health system, says she likes to use humour to get audiences thinking freshly about issues and aspects of culture that are accepted and taken for granted. Like horse racing.

“The play is a hard punch of anti-animal-cruelty, even to the extent of describing the death toll by over training of two-year-old horses, the brutal medical procedures, the doping to keep an injured horse racing), yet it’s wrapped in the soft glove of character-based comedy,” she says. “There’s actually a lot going on for a 10-minute play that deliberately and disarmingly starts off with an inane fart joke!”

Elspeth Tilley’s award-winning play Fabio the Great uses humour to probe the ethics of horse-racing (photo:Unsplash/Jeff Griffith)

Politics and humour can co-exist

The recognition for the play confirms, she says, that “political work – work that in this case has a strong message about animal rights, with some feminism thrown in for good measure – can win open competitions”.

Not that she is aiming to judge people who like horse racing. Rather, she hopes the play might inspire them to think more critically about the industry beyond the glamour of women dressing up for a race meet in heels, frocks and fascinators, the beauty and speed of the horses and big money to be made as a punter or industry participant. After all, she once had her own part to play – as a student in Australia in her 20s, she earned money to fund her studies working as an actor and model promoting horse racing on the Gold Coast.

Elspeth Tilley’s award-winning play on the dark side of horse racing touches on ideas of why humans feel they are a superior species (photo: Unsplash/Sarah Olive)

Humans vs animals

On a more philosophical note, she says the play touches on ideas of ecological equity, questioning the notion of why humans put themselves at the top of a species pyramid, and the assumed narcissism of seeing ourselves as superior to all other species.

“All three of my works that have made the winners’ list in this competition have been political works – the first one about climate change, the second about public health, and now this one with a strong message against the horse racing industry. To me, this shows that being political doesn’t disadvantage a theatre work in any way –  the works are comedic, but it’s comedy with a message.”

Dr Tilley, who rigorously researched the racing industry and equine welfare before writing the play, says she hopes her success will reassure those of her students who “seem to think that being funny and being political are mutually exclusive. But the long history of political satire shows they are elements that are stronger together.”

Dr Tilley says she’d like to see “a whole new generation of expert satirists – I think it is an increasingly important way to speak truth to power and get people thinking critically. I hope this encourages more young people to use the arts to get their own social justice measures across. It is possible. It works.”

Related articles

Creative activism on the move at Massey
Theatre to provoke new thinking on climate change

 

Celebrating the Work of Massey Alumnus Layal Moore

English and Media Studies alumnus Layal Moore has just kicked off Mooreish Creations, an online creative enterprise that can be accessed here.

Mooreish Creations is a culmination of Layal Moore’s best creative work to date.  It arose from a strong desire to share her work and incite collaboration with others. For her, art and writing is a means of living and is very much inseparable. It provides a form of catharsis, yet also yields self-affirmation and reassurance.

Layal says: “I create to live and I live to create. This stuff just ‘comes’ to me, who knows from where, but it’s a means of processing. I’ll never sell my creative soul”.

Reframing Literature Through a Maori and Pacific Lens

A new Massey University course looks set to radically reframe what we traditionally consider in the study of literature.

Novelist and Massey creative writing lecturer, Dr Tina Makereti (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangatahi) has created a unique course entitled ‘Oceanic Literatures of Aotearoa: Ngā Tuhinga Kōrero o te Moana Nui a Kiwa.’

The course is being launched for second semester study both on campus and by distance and will allow students to explore customary Māori and Pasifika creation narratives, visual narratives and oral traditions.

Dr Makereti says when considering Aotearoa’s literary past, people tend to think of the first Māori literature as being produced in the 1960s and 1970s. But she says Māori and Pacific cultures were weaving narratives long before English explorers arrived on the scene. “Written literature was never alien to us because our ancestors were already using sophisticated coding built into carving, weaving and ta moko to tell our stories. Our wharenui are libraries of stories built into the walls and into the very faces of our tipuna.”

She says it is time academia acknowledged this visual communication is as much literature as oral and written forms and she believes students, especially Māori and Pacific students, need the opportunity to study the richness of their literary heritage.

“Viewing Māori and Pasifika literatures as a recent development devalues them – we can see this in the lack of courses on this subject available nationally, and the lack of research in this area. By re-contextualising the history of our literatures, I hope to re-energise interest in our contemporary writing too.”

Along with studying pre-colonial literature, students will also look at contemporary Māori and Pasifika stories and poems in English and critically evaluate how cultural and historical bias is embedded in reading and writing.

Full details of the course can be found here and it will commence on July 15.

Related articles

Māori literature deserves academic recognition
Excellence in Māori literature celebrated