Middle Earth Curators' Hui: collections and collaborations 

22-23 October 2013 , 
Te Manawa Museum
Palmerston North  , Wanganui / Manawatu 

This year’s Hui theme, Collections and Collaborations, explores issues facing museums and galleries in their interactions with communities and stakeholders. How might such relationships have changed, and what challenges do we now face? Within this, there are some key topics we want to consider:

  • New models of community partnership
  • Commercially successful exhibitions
  • The Curator as creator and co-creator with artists, communities and stakeholders
  • Curating and designing settings: impact and importance of design on visitor engagement
  • Collections and community engagement: keeping collections alive and relevant; creating living collections
  • Alternative exhibition venues: issues and implications
  • Interdisciplinary curating

This year’s first keynote speaker is Dr Heather Galbraith. Heather has held Senior Curator roles at the City Gallery, Wellington and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and was the inaugural Director/Curator at St Paul St Gallery, AUT. Prior to that, Heather was based in London where she studied on the Curatorial postgrad programme at Goldsmiths College, and worked for seven years at Camden Arts Centre, London, as Exhibitions Organiser. She is currently Head of the School of Art, Massey University, and is very involved in practice-based research mentoring.

Heather will look at some international and New Zealand examples of community engaged, participatory projects initiated both by galleries and museums, and by organisations solely focused on these types of projects, and as well as teasing out examples of innovative practice. She will also touch upon the challenges and pitfalls of working in this way, especially while maintaining an 'in-gallery' programme of exhibitions and education activities. Examples will include: Liverpool Biennial, One Day Sculpture, Serpentine Gallery/Whitechapel Gallery/Camden Arts Centre, Grizedale, Creative Time, Brooklyn Museum, to name a few. 

The second keynote speaker is Dr Noel Waite. Noel Waite is a Senior Lecturer, Design, in the Department of Applied Sciences at the University of Otago. Noel will discuss the development of the participatory design methodology, and provide some recent international and, specifically local case studies of its application with regards museums to facilitate the input of stakeholders and users in the exhibition design process.

Noel designed and coordinates a new Honours paper on Participatory Design and is collaborating with the Dunedin City Council on a bid to recognize Dunedin as a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. He recently supervised two Masters projects that used participatory design methods with museums in the Maniototo. He co-curated an exhibition on New Zealand designer and artist Leo Bensemann at the Christchurch Art Gallery in 2011, and is currently writing a chapter on the history of the book in New Zealand between 1890–1930, as well as co-writing a book chapter on Trans-Tasman design history. He is interested in innovation in terms of exhibition design, book production and distribution, and heritage.

We would like to invite those interested in contributing to this year’s programme to register their interest. Please note the deadline for submissions is 20 September.

Besides those mentioned above, it is intended that there will be special sessions for:

  • World War One Commemorations project presentations
  • Student research project presentations
  • Kaitiaki Māori
  • Museums and Galleries


Presentations will run for up to 30 minutes.

For enquiries or expressions of interest, please email Susanna Shadbolt, Assistant Curator (susanna.shadbolt@temanawa.co.nz) or Tony Rasmussen, Social History Curator (tony.rasmussen@temanawa.co.nz). For intending presenters, please provide a 1-2 sentence summary outlining your presentation topic and a little paragraph about yourself.

Subject to funding, the cost for attending the Hui will be similar to last years - $30 per person.

If you know of anyone who has not heard about the Hui, but who would benefit from attending, please forward this email and contact us to let us know.