Standing Room Only for Sunday 26 January 2020
12:30 Leading educators say New Zealand arts education is in crisis.
"Teachers hope to end "near death" of arts in school” ran the Newsroom headline in an article by Professor of Education at the University of Auckland Peter O’Connor this week.
The week at Te Papa in Wellington saw the first gathering in more than a decade of leading arts educators from schools from across the visual arts, music, dance and drama subject areas. They came together because they say there is a crisis, forming a national alliance for educators to advocate for more support and resources for teaching the arts in schools.
Head of the Dance Subject Association of New Zealand Melanie Turner told RNZ’s Lynn Freeman that teachers felt underresourced across all arts disciplines, and that the legal obligation for access to the arts in schools is not being met.
“Teachers don’t feel confident, resourced or educated enough,” Turner says.
A key issue these leaders agree is huge disparities in access.
“Equity is a severe concern,” agrees Francis Potter, President of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Arts Educators. “There is even a major lack of delivery of the curriculum at the primary school level. It’s just not being met. Speaking from a secondary school perspective, we’re having to teach 13-year-olds the primary colours.
“We’re not born with Kiwi ingenuity, it’s taught, and it’s being lost.”
Representing the music and drama education associations Priya Gain says there is a lack of consistency across the programmes.
“It’s not every child in every school in New Zealand - so it’s an exciting opportunity to come together to advocate to the Ministry of Education. We’re excited about engaging in the conversations that are going on about wellbeing at the moment... So much of what is going on at the moment is voluntary, by those with the passion”
Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has been very vocal in saying that she wants to see the arts as part of all areas of NZ society. She has spoken of the golden age of Peter Fraser back in the ‘40s and wanting to bring back a curriculum that "allows creativity to develop". But there’s frustration here at the lack of action to meet this kind of rhetoric.
Like Adern these leaders agree that we have a great history to look back on:
“You don’t have to look back far to see some really great models, like advisory services,” says Gain.
So how did it come to this? Peter O’Connor writes that the "life blood of a creative education have been systematically dismantled from schools. National standards in literacy and numeracy narrowed the curriculum in primary schools and the biggest casualty was the arts. Although the standards have gone in name, their ghost still hangs over classrooms restraining both what and how things are taught and measured."
“It’s been, as they say, the death of many cuts over successive governments,” adds Potter, “making success quantifiable by too narrow a delivery of the curriculum. A focus on measurable outcomes.”
These teachers also point to a reduction in time in teacher training given to the arts.
“It comes down to the supervising teacher as to what they will get,” says Turner. “Universities are relying really heavily on practicums, and teachers are already under stress in the classrooms. “
Turner says the arts curriculum already provides an inspiring vision; that the structures are in place but the resources for all schools aren’t there for it to be implemented.
“The reality," she adds speaking for her subject area, "is that dance is infrequently taught in primary schools.”
1:10 At The Movies
Dan Slevin reviews Doolittle, Robert Downey Jr's reboot of the famous children's character; Bombshell, the story of the famous sexual harassment scandal at Fox News; and The Third Wife, a haunting drama about a child bride in 19th Century Vietnam.
1:33 Dance Epidemic hits with Michael Parmenter
A dance epidemic broke out in Strasbourg in 1518, and a new show about it stars foremost New Zealand contemporary dancer and choreographer Michael Parmenter.
Over the decades he's worked with our top dance talent and choreographed ambitiously large-scale works like Jerusalem and Orpheus. More recently, he's been teaching social dancing, from tango to French casual dance Bal Folk.
At the moment he's in rehearsals for Lucy Marinkovich's show Strasbourg 1518 created for the 2020 New Zealand Festival in Wellington.
1:40 Playing TV Detective for laughs - Extra's Ashley Jensen
British TV series Extras Ashley Jensen - the endearing Maggie to the maddening Andy, played by Ricky Gervais - has had a fruitful career in television since. Jensen's currently playing against type in the hospital-based TV drama Trust Me, previously she was in the TV series Catastrophe, she reunited with Ricky Gervais in the Netflix show After Life and plays Agatha Raisin in a TV series saved by new streaming service Acorn TV after it was dumped by Sky. Agatha is a stiletto and high fashion wearing city girl who moves to the Cotswolds and becomes an unlikely detective.
2:06 The Laugh Track - James Malcolm
Since winning the Raw Comedy Quest in 2014, comedian James Malcolm has picked up two Billy T nominations, had a handful of nominations in the Comedy Guild Awards and has co-founded No Homo Queer Comedy - a monthly gig at the Classic in Auckland which frequently sells out. He is, as they often say of him, a star on the rise.
James' Laugh Tracks are Ursula Carlzen, Bo Burnham, Rhys Nicholson and Joel Kim Booster. And James is on the line-up for No Homo: Queer Comedy on Friday 14th February as part of the Auckland Pride Festival.
2:25 The Physics Room Comes Home
Since 1996 Christchurch's The Physics Room has been one of our most significant incubators for contemporary artists, yet for two years it's been without a secure home.
In that time it has run a bold itinerant programme, starting with a a commission about New Zealanders in Australian detention centres - '501s' by Cushla Donaldson - at the Melbourne Art Fair, and concluding presently with a group exhibition at the Nelson's Suter Gallery.
This Tuesday The Physics Room comes home from its travels, opening a new gallery in the Christchurch Arts Centre, with touring exhibition The Shouting Valley featuring that work of Donaldson's.
And it's a true return home: it's where, director Jamie Hanton tells Mark Amery, The Physics Room started.
The Shouting Valley:Interrogating the Borders Between Us, touring from Auckland's Gus Fisher Gallery, featuring Donaldson, Hoda Afshar, Jun Yang, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Shahriar Asdollah-Zadehruns until 8 March, while itinerant Physics Room show A Response to Sympathetic Resonance runs at Nelson's Suter Gallery until 7 February and features Daniel Shaskey, Luke Shaw, and Phoebe Hinchliff.
The fifth edition of The Physics Room magazine Hamster is out now and the audiobook version can be found here.
2:40 Finding a girl cut out of your history - Professor Bart Van Es
Oxford English Professor Bart Van Es went in search of a reason for a decades-long rift in his Dutch family between his grandparents and their Jewish foster daughter, Lien.
They took Lien in during the Nazi occupation. unknown to them all, within months Lien's parents, who stayed in Holland, were sent to their deaths in Auschwitz.
Lien had to flee from the Van Es family when the police arrived and she spent the rest of the war flitting between many other families before asking to rejoin Bart's family after the war.
Bart went in search of Lien, who's now in her 80s, to ask for her side of the story, which he tells in his book The Cut Out Girl.
Professor Bart Van Es is a guest speaker at the New Zealand Festival Writers and Readers Week in Wellington. The Cut Out Girl is published by Penguin Books New Zealand.
3:06 Drama at 3 - The Orderly
Michael Downey's The Orderly intertwines the telling of a medieval poem about the battle of Maldon (991AD Saxons versus the Vikings) with the trials and tribulations of John; a hospital orderly, misfit, and a dead keen re-enactor of medieval battles.
Artist: Max Harris And His Novelty Trio
Song: The Singing Detective (Peg O' My Heart)
Composer: not known
Album: The Best Of BBC TV's Themes
Label: Pickwick Records
Played at: 12.32pm
Artist: They Might Be Giants
Song: (She Was A) Hotel Detective
Album: They Might Be Giants
Played at: 2.04pm
Artist: The Coasters
Song: Bad Detective
Album: There's A Riot Goin' On - The Coasters On Atco
Played at: 2.37pm
Artist: Issac Hayes
Song: Theme from Shaft
Composer: Issac Hayes
Played at: 2.59pm
Artist: Elvis Costello
Song: Watching the Detectives
Composer: Elvis Costello
Album: The best of Elvis Costello
Played at: 3.08pm,
Artist: Dire Straits
Song: Private Investigations
Composer: Mark Knopfler
Album: Love Over Gold
Played at: 3.55pm