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Collaboration the key to the future for Creative Industry Tertiary Educators

  • Dr. Vanessa Byrnes, Unitec's Head of School of Creative Industries presented at the Hui.

The first national hui for Creative Industries tertiary educators took place at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland this week for a multi-discipline discussion on navigating changes in the sector and a post-COVID future.

Faced with rapid change in the tertiary education sector, coupled with a fast-moving creative sector, and the impact of the COVID-10 pandemic, more than 70 delegates from 24 vocational training institutes, ITPS and industry organisations met to discuss how to better instigate and develop research to map the creative education ecosystem and workforce needs.

Hosted in Unitec’s beautiful Te Noho Kotahitangi marae on its Mt Albert Campus, the Looking ahead to Our Creative Industries Futures: Purpose and Vitality Hui was initiated by Dr Vanessa Byrnes, Unitec’s Head of School – Creative Industries, and co-facilitated by Prof. Federico Freschi from Otago Polytechnic.

Delegates spanned creative industry organizations from throughout the country and disciplines including, screen-arts, dance, design, music, architecture and visual effects. Speakers included Vanessa Blood, We Create; Teremoana Rapley, Auckland Unlimited; and Dr Angela Beaton, Te Pūkenga.

 Dr Byrnes said the ability to meet face to face, many for the first time was a significant event for the sector.

“On a practical level, it was about getting to know each other, and breaking down perceived barriers. All the organisations are facing the same challenges: funding models that don’t work for us, a changing and fragmented tertiary structure,  the changes that will come from the ROVE (Review of Tertiary Education), and an industry whose enormous value to the economy and society is often not fully recognized,” she says.

“This is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion, but we hope it is the start of a collaborative framework for the industry. We finished agreeing there is strength in numbers, that we are better as a collaborative industry, and keen to involve all creative educators.”

Other delegates included Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, industry advocacy organisations WeCreate, an alliance of creative industry educators, CreaTer, and workforce development trainers Share the Knowledge.

Suzette Major from CreaTer says the hui represented a point of evolution for the creative industry in Aotearoa/new Zealand.

“This is an emerging organic community who want to work together to address the paucity of research. We need to align to share and better understand the needs of our students and the industry we serve. Hopefully, we will look back on this [hui] in five or ten years’ time and reflect that it sparked a health, sustainable and vibrant future.”

It is hoped this will be the first in an ongoing series of huis and collaborations, says Dr Byrnes.

 “I can’t underestimate the immense value and framework of hui to galvanise communities of practice.  The saying ‘write to discover what you have to say’ has guided my practice at times; in the current context of change I think the phrase should be ‘Talk to discover what you have to create’. We have so much deep wisdom and knowledge in our tertiary creative industries sector, and it was fantastic this week to see such a strong response to the hui. We really appreciate the support and insights from guest speakers Dr Angela Beaton from Te Pukenga and Teremoana Rapley from Auckland Unlimited.”