The Blue Oyster’s Facebook page alerted me to a symposium for Creative Arts and Culture being held in Dunedin.  It seemed a worthwhile event to attend.  If I wanted to justify it I could claim to be representing my work at the Presbyterian Archives Research Centre, or Opoho Presbyterian Church who have held three art events over the last few years.  I could learn something.  The first event was held at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.  Dunedin’s art community came out in force to enjoy wine and a bite-sized supper with Dunedin dignitaries.  I met a friend from Reseach Write NZ at the event and we arranged to travel together the next day to the main symposium meeting at the Dunedin School of Art.  (Did you know that there is space there for community art groups to use?)  It turned out that the Dunedin art community will turn out in bigger numbers to talk about what they want to transform Dunedin into a creative city.

My notes from the day:

  • Creativity = autonomy of thought = sustainability
  • Central Wellington has gentrified under a creative über-class with the service people coming in from the suburbs (Eloi and Morlocks?)
  • The Christchurch earthquake means that a permanent re-building may take up to 30 years.  That’s three generations.  In the meantime they are looking at making their creative centre into a circus city
  • When the city asks for submissions then make a submission.  Don’t just complain.  Tell them what they are doing right.  They love to hear that.
  • Waitakere City, now part of the Auckland Super-city established art laureates.  Maybe Dunedin should be looking to do the same.  Hearing about what Waitakere has done as to be a creative city proved to be fun and interesting.  A library is a community’s living room; public art can use history as a legacy

Biggest complaint of the weekend: using the corridor as a lunch room was not a good idea for 300 people.  It was great to see Dunedin’s creative people close up and meet with them.  Some of whom I knew.  Interestingly enough few church people came out for the event that I recognised.

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