Tag Archives: Culture

Education: Art and Design #UK

UK NSN report responds to the ongoing concern over the decline in the number of young people studying art and design, prompted by statements from numerous industry figures.

Brexit Effect | National Society for Education in Art and Design said art and design in schools was being eroded while the Creative Industries Federation described the failure to educate a new generation of creatives as “economic suicide”.

Art and design can help drive up standards in schools, says UK government
Amy Frearson | 8 February 2017 ● Dezeen
The UK government is urging schools to promote art and design subjects, after a report found that schools with more creative pupils achieve significantly higher grades. Released today, the New Schools Network (NSN) Arts Report reveals that schools with more arts GSCEs per pupil achieve above-average results. This was proven to be the case for schools in deprived areas, as well as those in affluent neighbourhoods. It shows that offering a broad mix of subjects, in addition to those included in the controversial English Baccalaureate (EBacc) system – which favours more traditional subjects like science and history – leads to better performance. At a launch event for the report earlier today, digital and culture minister Matt Hancock said the government is doing all it can to support creative subjects, but it is up to schools to deliver a varied curriculum. “This should not be an argument about a battle between the arts and other subjects, but instead a battle for stronger, better, well-rounded education,” he said. “Ultimately, the best schools in the country do this. They combine excellent cultural education to complement excellence in other academic subjects,” Hancock continued. “This report backs up that analysis. It looks at the data and says, if you want to drive up standards across the board, push your arts and music offer.”
Read more

Note: The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance measure for schools, awarded when students secure a grade C or above at GCSE level across a core of five academic subjects – english, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language.

Corned beef at NZ….

installation-view-of-povi-christkeke-by-michel-tuffery-1999-christchurchartgallery-org-nz-1Installation view of Povi Christkeke by Michel Tuffery 1999
Education | Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu [christchurchartgallery.org.nz]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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RNZ Sunday Morning —The Decline of Reason #mediapoliticsculture

Updated post Sunday, 25 Jan 2015 at 3:16 p.m.

Radio New Zealand National – Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman
11:40 Helen Razer – The Decline of Reason

Cover, A short history of StupidHelen Razer and Bernard Keane were going mad over the deteriorating quality of public debate and the dwindling of common sense in media, politics and culture.
So they wrote a book about it: A Short History of Stupid – The decline of reason and why public debate makes us want to scream.
Helen joins Wallace to talk about why so much has gotten so dumb.

Audio | Download: OggMP3 (13′ 47″) Link

BOOK REVIEWS

A Short History of Stupid – The decline of reason and why public debate makes us want to scream
By Bernard Keane & Helen Razer
Published by Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760110543

I
Reviewer: Gordon Findlay
Posted on December 15, 2014

It would be great to make this compulsory reading for every journalist, blogger and aspiring politician, but I can’t imagine them persevering with it. It would ruin their life’s work.

I think that the deterioration of public debate, and the absence of common sense and moderation in both media and politics, are pretty much givens now. But why? And where did this come from? These are the questions that this apparently light-hearted, yet fundamentally serious, book seeks to answer.
For these authors, stupid comes in many forms, and damages us in many ways. And yes, ‘stupid’ is a noun for these 329 pages. Many different types of stupid are identified, and an attempt is made to find their origins. Far too many ‘species’ of stupidly are identified to list them all here. But the rise of individualism over social responsibility, vaccination denialism, excessive partisanship in politics, the conflict between sentimentalism and reason, postmodernism, fallacious opinion polling and reality TV might be a representative sample. For me the most important forms of stupidity identified were three: the inability to understand numbers, the preference for emotion over facts, and the ignorance of historical contexts.
A real attempt is made to pin down the development of stupidity in its many forms. This takes us into an elementary, and often light-hearted, discussion of the development of some core ideas in western thought. The authors also make a determined effort to be seen to be in touch with popular culture, invoking as many memes from popular culture as can be squeezed in, from Dallas to the Bond movies. The authors are Australian commentators, and quite a lot of the stupidity is taken from Australian sources.
[…] A broad-gauge rant, which is based on gently concealed erudition. But a rant nonetheless. And that becomes the book’s weakness. The writing is always turned up to eleven. In places the F-bomb becomes a carpet bomb. This continuous bombast makes reading more than a little tiring. But it’s a great source of one-liners.
Cont./ Booksellers NZ blog

II
Reviewer: Frank O’Shea
Posted on December 12, 2014

The problem with a book like this is that it encourages the reader to become more alert to Stupid.

This book sets out to show how much of public discourse is guided, not by reason, but by Stupidity. It is the work of two writers for the online magazine Crikey, and even those not sympathetic towards that journal’s independent take on the news, will find much in the book to stimulate and delight.
[…] There are phrases that pull you up with glee: “… the cheap meth of personal development seminars”, “the Oprahfication of wisdom”, “the well of homeopathic opinion”, “a prostatariat of old white male journalists”, “holistic healing … rip-off bollocks with a whale-call soundtrack”. And you feel like cheering aloud when you read psychiatry described as an “iffy branch of medicine … a pseudo-science … an impotent practice”.
The level of Stupidity in public debate in Australia is probably no higher than in other Western countries. It is unlikely that politicians, for whom the luminous vest photo op is more important than any discussion of complex issues, will be changed by what they read here. But then again, their success is based on the well-founded belief that the rest of us are Stupid.
Cont./ Sydney Morning Herald

III
Reviewer: Martin Hirst
Posted [2014], undated

The writers have very different tones and registers in their prose; but the bigger issue is that the book doesn’t seem to really know whom its enemy is.

I am a big fan of both Crikey political editor Bernard Keane and freelance writer Helen Razer. They are intellectually sharp, write with good humour and come across as eminently rational in their thinking. […] Keane and Razer are friends and obviously share a dislike for stupidity in all its forms (and they are many); but they are not cut from the same cloth. Keane comes across as a socially-concerned individualist, verging on the libertarian, while Razer is more than willing to own up to her own proto-Marxist and critical feminist intellectual development. Razer is also a bit of a potty mouth, so if you are offended by the occasional use of c—t, f—k and s—t in your reading material, perhaps you should only read the chapters by the more (ahem) refined Mr Keane.
But I’m not fazed by Ms Razer’s crudities because I love her razor wit and sharp insights. Her chapter on reason and unreason is one of the best in the book and one paragraph in particular sums up her (and my) take on the psychological pressures of modern working life: “When we fail at life as it is so broadly and meticulously prescribed, we call it mental illness. We have failed life. We are not permitted to think it is the conventions of life that have failed us.” (p. 164)
[…] both authors, but particularly Bernard Keane, have a blind spot to the ultimate form of Stupid: the problem of the system itself. Razer calls it “liberal democracy” and Keane calls it “liberal capitalism” and they ultimately concede it is all we’ve got. However, this is an ahistorical approach that denies the evidence of the past that it is the economic system that breeds inequality and that ultimately needs a certain level of ideological Stupid among the general population in order to prevent mass (and organised) public opposition that would be capable of overthrowing it. Previously Stupid systems of political economy such as slavery and feudal aristocracy have been defeated and replaced, so why not stupid Capitalism? If Stupid is in the way, then it is serving some purpose of the ruling class. After all, as Marx once wrote in his critique of Hegel: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Insert “Stupid” into that sentence instead of “Religion” and read it again—it makes perfect sense!
Cont./ Academia.edu

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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New Zealand: Salmond on abuse of democratic freedoms

Dame Anne Salmond [stuff.co.nz] 1 ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 10:57 13/01/2015 — Dominion Post
Erosion of democratic rights
By Dame Anne Salmond
OPINION In the wake of the shooting of cartoonists and journalists in Paris, political leaders in New Zealand have expressed shock and horror, and their support for those who uphold freedom of expression in other countries.
What about freedom of speech and thought at home, however?
Over the past decade or so, politicians seeking to uphold their own power have abused democratic freedoms in New Zealand. Journalists including Jon Stephenson (for reporting on New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan), Andrea Vance (over a suspected leak of a report about the GCSB spy agency), and Nicky Hager (for exposing scurrilous relationships between senior politicians and muck-raking bloggers) have been intimidated and attacked.
While our leaders do not shoot people, they work with others to try to ruin the lives and careers of those who disagree with them. The means may be different, but the intent is the same. One way or another, their critics (however valid their points of view might be) must be silenced.

It is not just outspoken individuals who are at risk. Institutions that are the bulwarks of our democracy have been undermined. Since the 1980s, the civil service, which is supposed to offer informed, impartial advice to politicians, has been brought under ministerial control, and instead of serving civil society now largely serves its political masters.

The freedom of the press has been compromised, for instance in the wake of the teapot tape scandal, when newspaper offices were raided in an effort to prevent the publication of those recordings, or when improper pressure is brought to bear on journalists and media outlets for partisan political purposes.
While H L Mencken defined good journalism as “afflicting the comfortable, and comforting the afflicted”, much journalism in New Zealand now does the opposite. Read more

█ Dame Anne Salmond is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Auckland. She was the 2013 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

Anthony Robins at The Standard says:
“Salmond goes on to cover attacks on “The independence of the judiciary and the rule of law”, “Independent statutory bodies”, “Freedom of thought and inquiry in universities and Crown Research Institutes” and “Radical extensions of the powers of the SIS and the GCSB” […] It’s an excellent article, and a depressing summary of the state of NZ.” Link

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Mayor Cull’s reflections on Edinburgh #SisterCity #Junkets

Edinburgh - New Town Old Town [thathideousman.blogspot.com]

Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 at 11:36 p.m.

Message: I thought it might be of interest that there has been no response from the Mayor, or from anyone else regarding my criticism of the latest round of Sister City tourism as below.

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:10:12 +1200
To: Dave Cull, Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Lee Vandervis, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
Cc: Tony Avery, Grant McKenzie
Conversation: File – reflections on Edinburgh visit.docx
Subject: Re: File – reflections on Edinburgh visit.docx

Dear Dave,

Thank you sending us your preliminary reflections on visiting Edinburgh, which I know from personal experience to be especially pleasant at this time of year.
Since being elected in 2004 I have read many similar reflections on Sister City visits all of them similarly generic.
I note that your statement “So most of our time in Edinburgh was devoted to meetings with Edinburgh arts and cultural organizations, people or institutions.” is a fair definition of tourism, unless you are heavily into sports which might not necessarily be caught by the words ‘cultural organizations’.
Your claim that you went to “reinvigorate the sister city relationship” is untenable since there never has been any vigour in the relationship, as anyone who has done years on the Edinburgh Sister City Committee will confirm. The previously overused but safer ‘breath new life into the relationship’ would also fail as it is not possible to breathe new life into a corpse.
Ditto Otaru.
I take it that Dunedin will now be hosting some official reciprocal Scottish tourists by return when the Scottish winter bites.

At least Harland pretended to come back with a viable Scottish wind power design.

Kind regards,
Lee

On 6/08/14 4:26 AM, “Quickoffice” wrote:

Hi Colleagues, Attached a preliminary report on the Edinburgh experience. Dave

Colleagues,
The following is a preliminary report/reflection on our recently completed trip to Edinburgh while it is still fresh. There is considerable detail and learnings yet to be brought together from our various meetings.

This Sister City visit to Edinburgh was timed to coincide with the opening of the NZ in Edinburgh Programme. That included a national kapa haka group being a central part of the tattoo, an exhibition by Commonwealth artists partly curated by Aaron Kriesler of DPAG and many more performances/exhibits. NZ was the country of honor at the umbrella Edinburgh Festival. Our Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae was a guest of honor with the 2nd Lord of the Admiralty at the Tattoo opening night.
Dunedin received invitations to Edinburgh from the the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Creative Scotland and the British Council.
The visit was timed to coincide because one of the objectives of going was to reinvigorate the sister city relationship, potentially through the medium of arts and culture. This was timely as Dunedin is currently developing an Arts and Culture Strategy, our Economic Development Strategy recognises the important potential of the whole creative sector and we are awaiting confirmation of UNESCO City of Literature status. The two cities obviously already have many cultural connections, going back to Dunedin’s founding and naming by Scots.
So most of our time in Edinburgh was devoted to meetings with Edinburgh arts and cultural organizations, people or institutions. They include Creative Scotland (equivalent of Creative NZ), Edinburgh University (2 depts), Councillor convener of arts and future committee, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh City of Literature, British Council, Institute of Scottish Studies, and Centre for the Book Edinburgh Napier University. We also met with the Lord Provost, attended the Tattoo and the opening of Aaron’s exhibition.
We are still processing what we learned, but a number of things made us very positive about the potential opportunity Edinburgh, and our relationship with her, could offer Dundin. First everyone, without exception, has been welcoming and has gone out of their way to engage, spend time with us and provide any information we asked for. Several organizations have express a desire to collaborate with Dunedin. One or two came to meetings with specific proposals! We have even had an approach from the Edinburgh suburb Corstorphine asking about partnering with Corstorphine, Dunedin. The bigger picture is that Edinburgh has essentially reinvented itself as a cultural/festival city. Certainly after World War II Edinburgh’s economy diminished drastically. Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature. Now festivals of various cultural complexions bring hundreds of millions of pounds into the city. Edinburgh views and defines itself as a creative, literary artistic city. So if nothing else Dunedin can learn an
enormous amount from Edinburgh’s experience across a range of initiatives. In addition there is considerable potential for collaboration and exchange between Dunedin and Edinburgh institutions, to their mutual benefit. There was emphatic interest in Dunedin performers performing in both Edinburgh and Glasgow at major events. Indeed Neville and Cara saw the Chills in Glasgow on Saturday night.
So while we have yet to fully de-brief and weigh up what we learned, it is clear that there is huge potential culturally, economically and academically for Dunedin in refreshing and developing our relationship with Edinburgh specifically and Scotland in general.

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: thathideousman.blogspot.com – Edinburgh, Scotland

34 Comments

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DCC: Draft arts and culture strategy (read another major spend up?)

OH GOD, BUT IS IT GREEN
Do we really need a (hopeless) arts strategy when we’re TOO BUSY bankrolling Professional Rugby and committing Assault at Stadium ???

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Making Creativity a Top Priority

This item was published on 19 Jun 2014

Arts and culture should be at the core of our city, according to Toi Ao – Our Creative Future, the draft Ōtepoti Dunedin Arts and Culture Strategy.

Dunedin City Councillor Aaron Hawkins who has been closely involved with the preparation of the draft Strategy, says, “This is a great opportunity for the city to acknowledge the importance art and culture to our community’s quality of life. Having watched this strategy develop, I’m excited about it being at the stage where we can soon share it with Dunedin people, and see how it fits with their ambitions and aspirations. Dunedin has a rich tradition of developing, and attracting, world class talent. What we don’t always to so well is celebrate our successes. We need to look at how we can encourage excellence, and at the same time weave creative expression into the fabric of our public spaces and everyday lives.”

The draft Strategy has been developed in partnership with arts and culture collective Transforming Dunedin. The Strategy draws on the results of previous community consultation, including the Transforming Dunedin Symposium and follow-on work, DCC consultation on strategic priorities for the city and a review of other arts and culture strategies in New Zealand and overseas.

The Strategy’s purpose is to set the direction when it comes to future support for arts and culture in Dunedin. It aims to position Dunedin as one of the world’s finest creative small cities. The intention is to move to a place where arts, culture and creativity are fully integrated into the city’s brand and identity and recognised as critical to Dunedin’s success.

There are a wide range of goals, which include bringing a creative perspective to city decision-making, creating new ways for people to participate in arts and culture, and ensuring Dunedin people can experience the best of local, national and international arts and culture.

DCC Group Manager Arts and Culture Bernie Hawke describes the development of the draft Arts and Culture Strategy as “a significant milestone in developing a framework for supporting and fostering arts and culture across the city. “The forthcoming community consultation on the draft Strategy will be important to ensure that the Strategy represents the priorities and directions of the community.”

█ The draft Strategy will be discussed by the Council at its meeting on Monday, 23 June. Subject to approval by the Council, the draft Strategy is expected to be released for widespread public consultation in late July/August.

‘Toi Au – Our Creative Future’, Draft Ōtepoti Dunedin Arts and Culture Strategy (PDF, 872.4 KB)

Contact Group Manager Arts and Culture on 03 477 4000.
DCC Link

### dunedintv.co.nz June 19, 2014 – 6:03pm
New arts and culture strategy developed
The Dunedin City Council has developed a new arts and culture strategy. It sets the direction for investment and support of creative activities and events in the city. And on Monday, the document will be tabled for discussion by councillors, before going out to public consultation.
Video

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Dunedin housing: building up or Brown-like sprawl #intensification #costlyinfrastructure

Dunedin housing [ODT files] detail 1

There was a risk that Government intervention could actually drive up house prices in Dunedin.

### ODT Online Wed, 12 Jun 2013
DCC seeks changes to housing Bill
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council could be forced to open up land for development – sidestepping long-term council planning in the process – as part of a Government push to bring down house prices. The concern was raised at yesterday’s planning and environment committee meeting, as Dunedin city councillors discussed a council submission on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill. The Bill, which is before a parliamentary select committee, would allow the Government to create ”special housing areas” in parts of New Zealand deemed to have significant housing affordability problems. Councils would be able to enter into accords with the Government to create the new zones but, if they resisted, the Bill would give the Government the power to force the creation of the new areas.

The council had been given just 10 working days from May 16 to respond, which was “completely insufficient” to allow councils and the public to assess and provide detailed feedback on the Bill, it said. ”In our view, these consultation time frames raise serious concerns about the democratic nature of our legislative process and New Zealand’s system of representative government.”

And, while the Bill appeared aimed primarily at Auckland, Dunedin could also qualify for one of the new housing areas, city councillors were warned. Dunedin could be deemed in need of a special housing area, based on criteria proposed under the Bill, council city strategy and development general manager Sue Bidrose told the meeting. That was largely because of the high population of students and the elderly, whose economic circumstances skewed the city’s housing affordability results, the council’s submission said.
Read more

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26.12.10 New Zealand housing, a sorry tale

Dunedin housing EveningPost 1.9.1937 p10 (teara.govt.nz] 32437-wnIn early 1937 the government provided new loan money for councils to build new dwellings to help meet a chronic housing shortage. The aim was to provide an affordable alternative to the government’s state-rental scheme. Dunedin was among the councils that took advantage of the measure, building hundreds of dwellings for private sale in suburban Clyde Hill. The first three houses were opened by Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage in September 1937.
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/document/32437/dunedin-houses-opened

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: Dunedin housing (detail) [ODT files]

36 Comments

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John Montgomery: The Economy, Culture and Design of Cities

Dunedin City Council hosted a public lecture by Dr John Montgomery at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last Friday (16 September).

Dr Montgomery provided a presentation [PDF, 5.94 MB] on the economy, culture and design of cities, building on his work in the UK and Australia. His views are particularly relevant for the development of Dunedin’s Central City Plan and Economic Development strategies.

John Montgomery is an urban planner, economist, author and managing director of Urban Cultures Ltd.

Urban Cultures consults in urban economics, city planning, urban design, arts-led urban revitalisation and managing the night-time city.

More on John Montgomery at Idealog.

Your City Our Future (YCOF) – Update

Dunedin City Council undertook a city-wide consultation in June 2011 to identify priorities for future expenditure. The results from the consultation survey are available here: YCOF survey report July 2011

The information and feedback received from the consultation, along with the feedback from the YCOF leadership teams has been used in the development of the Council’s draft spatial plan, “Dunedin Towards 2050”, draft Central City Plan, and draft Economic Development Strategy.

Formal consultation on these documents is planned for October/November 2011.

Find additional information on the development of the Council’s Central City Plan here: www.dunedin.govt.nz/centralcityplan

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

6 Comments

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