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Aratoi: Our Journeys to Aotearoa

Collaborative Knowledge Construction at a Regional Art Gallery in New Zealand

Esther Helen McNaughton

How can regional art galleries support the development of cultural understanding in their communities? The 2019 collaborative project Aratoi: Our Journeys to Aotearoa between Nelson, New Zealand’s Suter Art Gallery te Aratoi o Whakatū and eight local schools explored this question. Students’ artworks were hung alongside the gallery’s collection, enriching dialogue within the exhibition through the provision of voices otherwise absent. Building on the gallery’s collection and history, this project demonstrated the evolution of the gallery’s colonial roots into a broader discussion of culture. Participating teachers believed the project allowed public recognition of students’ abilities and ideas; expression of a school community’s special character; cross-curricular learning; cohesive whole school learning; bicultural learning; and pre-service teacher development. It also enabled meaningful exploration of Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories.

Open access

Art Gallery Education in New Zealand during COVID-19

The Emergence of a Community of Practice

Esther Helen McNaughton

Abstract

This article describes the unprecedented coming together of New Zealand art gallery educators to respond to the challenges of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This newly formed community of practice met virtually three times at critical points. At each stage, new concerns were discussed and understandings evolved. The gallery educators were able to approach shared issues cooperatively, enabling mutual support to a degree that had hitherto not been possible. By the end of these meetings, gallery educators were reestablishing their regular teaching practice with the integration of many of the innovations of the period. Additionally, the meetings fulfilled a preexisting desire for closer contact and professional support, and thus proved to be the foundation of an ongoing national professional group for New Zealand art gallery educators.