As part of the sixth and final iteration of the project and exhibition Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa currently on show in Pōneke Wellington at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, the gallery hosted a morning kōrero with design students. Student Briar Lomas gives us a glimpse into the session:
by Briar Lomas
Pōneke had the privilege of welcoming Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa in the last week of October at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space. Building on the exhibition, Monday the 4th saw an open kōrero for design students, with valuable contributions from current lecturers Kerry Ann Lee, Fay McAlpine, Sarah Maxey, and Jo Bailey.
We enjoyed a warm open-circle conversation, discussing topics from personal experiences, to thoughts and needs for the future. The stories shared were heartening and inspiring, demonstrating the breadth of manaakitanga we have the potential to show each other. As students (many of whom have just finished our studies) we were reflecting on the kind of design landscape we want to be entering and contributing to – realising that in Aotearoa we have a long way to go, but that tools like the Directory of Women* Designers are a great place to start.
Sarah, Fay and Jo, alongside students Eden Kleiman and Kimberley Zhou, talked to the work they had contributed to the project. This was a sincere glimpse into their process, and the ways they activate their power as women designers.
We ended the morning with a workshopping activity led by Jo Bailey, which gave us the chance to “air design’s dirty laundry”, by way of cleaning metaphors – offering a space to talk about these big themes in a lighter tone. One student suggested a ‘laundromat care guide’ for designers which has some simple truths that I’ll leave you with:
Always consider the environment. Never manipulate people. Sort your priorities. Carefully align with values. Press for biases. It’s handy to get diverse perspectives. Interact gently. Do not dry clean.
Briar Lomas / design student, Massey University
Alongside the exhibition Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa, Enjoy invited students interested in design to attend a morning of presentations by designers and lecturers about their practices and involvement in the project, followed by morning tea and an open discussion. A broad set of questions guided the conversation: what next? What does success look like for your practice? What are the conversations you want to be a part of? What kind of engagement do you want to have with the design world? An opportunity for young designers to engage in conversation with their practicing tuākana and foster whanaungatanga with their peers.