Reading list, 27 May 2018

Michael Savage misses the catch-22 in his own argument in this piece about the politicisation of museums where he says that museums are choosing not to focus on widening their audience and are instead trying to politicise their audiences: Against the Politicisation of Museums. In doing so, it’s typically white wealthy people doing the politicisation, rather than the audience. And there’s the problem: to attract a diverse community (ie, widen your audience) you need to speak to that community (which often includes critiquing the whiteness or wealthiness of your institution). Savage argues that white wealthy people are the wrong people to do the critique, but if non-white non-wealthy people aren’t attracted to the institution in the first place, they won’t be there to do the critique. Anyway, it’s a stupid argument. For a curator to try to step outside their own experience and make their institution more welcoming to more people, it’s not so much politicisation, more just being a self-aware human.

That said, neutrality is called upon in this article as a virtue in museums, ironically enough given the refusal by many to repatriate many of their treasures. Can they be trusted any more than Google with the future of digital scans? 3D Scans Help Preserve History, But Who Should Own Them?

Kate Prior finds that not all is lost for professional theatre in Dunedin as Fortune Theatre closes its doors: Change of Fortunes: Lessons from the Death of a Theatre. The world’s changing people, changing it is. Similarly, newspaper coverage of the arts in decline: Newspaper arts coverage dramatically cut; and the middle-class just doesn’t care anymore: The university library row reveals a seismic shift in NZ’s middle class.

Moana Maniapoto responds to the recent furore about non-Māori taking moko: Of your moko you cannot be deprived. I like the generosity in this paragraph especially:

Pākehā allies exist because they have never felt threatened or diminished because of us. They are comfortable in their own skins. They don’t want to be us or take anything more from us. They understand the history of dispossession and disempowerment at the hands of the Crown and how Pākehā continue to benefit from that.

And before I forget, here are some links I’ve had kicking around about Hobson’s Pledge. To whit, did Hobson ever say ‘we are one people’ as Hobson’s Pledge claim? Probably not according to Debunking the ‘one people’ myth: a historian on the invention of Hobson’s Pledge. Apparently the only record of the phrase comes from an account 50 years after the fact, when Pākehā were searching for connections to this land. And if he did say it, he probably didn’t say it in English, only in Māori and the translation to ‘we are one people’ is very questionable according to Dame Joan Metge’s in Ropeworks – He Taura Whiri:

A fuller English translation would be: ‘We two peoples together make a nation.’ ‘He iwi tahi tatou’ still has application in today’s world, but now we can give it a wider interpretation: ‘We many peoples together make a nation.’

(And hats off to the Internet Archive for saving that article!)