I’ve started a tradition of sharing a collection of photos at this time of the year that encapsulate key moments, issues and mahi achieved over the year. Of course, being the year of Covid-19, there aren’t a lot of photos of people in close proximity.
The fact that our stakeholders and supporters kept going and found different ways to connect with the arts and support each other is a major highlight for me this year. The photos I have chosen are indicative of a year of doing things differently.
MINISTER SEPULONI: Hon Carmel Sepuloni was (only!) the Minister for the Ministry of Social Dvelopment and Disability Issues and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage when she visited Artsenta and Studio2 in Dunedin at the beginning of the year and before Covid-19 limited everyone’s travel plans. Now she is THE Minister for Arts! Her understanding of the role that creative spaces play in the supporting the health and wellbeing of their artists has been appreciated throughout this year when creative spaces did an amazing job of continuing outreach to their artists, however they could.
ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSION: Speaking out to producers of live events to improve accessibility is one of the roles of Stace Robertson, Access, Inclusion and Participation Advisor, seen here presenting to the PAANZ Conference with choreographer Suzanne Cowen before lockdown. Accessibility for disabled people to be included in audiences and also as artists on stage, and in film, print, exhibitions and digital media is a constant message.
ZOOMING IN: All of us discovered the value of Zoom this year. Even though in lockdown we were kept apart physically, digital conferences and meetings brought more people into the room than ever before - like at this great presentation by Pascale Parenteau about the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s accessibility programme at the Arts Access Aotearoa AGM.
ONLINE AWARDS 2020: Uncertainty about Covid-19 levels meant that we made the call to present Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 as a pre-recorded digital event on 13 October. This was a huge undertaking for all staff, recipients, sponsors and the digital production company Multi-Media Systems. We wanted to keep all the elements that audiences are used to, including waiata by Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club. More than 1200 people logged on to the Arts Access Aotearoa website to watch the event from the safety and comfort of their homes and offices. If you missed the awards, you can still watch all or any section of this accessible awards video.
MANA OF AWARD TROPHIES: I want to tautoko to the carver of the two taonga that were created in Hawkes Bay Regional Prison as the trophies for the two Arts in Corrections awards. This work is indicative of the skill and dedication of the artist and provided great mana for recipients Rue-Jade Morgan and men in the Redemption Performing Arts Whānau at Northland Region Corrections Facility. A big thanks to Lawrence Ereatara and Hone Fletcher, who delivered the trophies to us at Arts Access Aotearoa.
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS: Arts Access Aotearoa celebrated its 25th anniversary in conjunction with Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020. As everything we do is about making the arts accessible to everyone in Aotearoa, I invited people who are with us on the journey for their reflections. A big thanks to all the people who sent us messages about the awards. You can read them on our website.