Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Out with the old, in with the old

Has Rick Ellis got a vision for Te Papa? Not really. Listening to Radio NZ it’s sounds pretty much like less-business-than-usual plus digital. The big idea is to ‘refresh the fixed exhibitions’ so they'll last another 15 years which (as anyone who works at there knows) has been a big idea at Te Papa for about five years now. Has Ellis any idea about what those displays will be? No, there’s to be a 'consultation process' with ‘community groups’ who might well wonder why the highly-paid experts at Te Papa can’t work out what’s needed by themselves. To do all this he is going to ‘establish a senior leadership team’ oh, oh.

One fatality will be temporary exhibitions. They'll be 'suspended for three years', so goodbye to ‘we’re showing more art more of the time’ and Sarah Farrar’s on-again-off-again Art at the Boundaries exhibition. Talking about Te Papa’s interest in art, what’s the story about having a separate art gallery? Ellis's response: ‘Not something I’m focused on to take further.’ Even the chances for the 18-month old Te Papa North project sound blurry in Ellis-speak, 'We have a bid in for a new facility. That bid is going through the budget process.' 

As to upping the level of digital output Ellis made no mention of where significant extra costs for storage and staffing were going to come from, and hard to see how it can be achieved on current budgets and staff levels.

Don’t watch this space.