Museums Aotearoa 2017 Conference

Palmerston North
22-24 May

Thank you to everyone who made MA17 such an amazing conference!

We're still processing all the post-conference paperwork, check back here for links to photos and reports.

Check out our facbook page for photos from the event.

Museums and creating inclusion - Arts Access Advocates blog by Robyn Hunt

See also Arts Access Advocates Tools page

Blog post on MA17 for NSTP by Tamara Patten

For all conference videos go to the Museums Aotearoa YouTube Channel


He waka Eke Noa - Museums Of Inclusion

How do we make our institutions more inclusive – accessible to everyone? Who is not included now? What would full inclusion look like? Come and be encouraged, challenged and inspired by industry experts, colleagues and invited participants at MA17.

As cultural and artistic hubs, museums and galleries strive to be places where all people feel welcomed and inspired.

We have a unique role caring for our peoples’ taonga and shared histories and experiences. This means we have a responsibility to remove barriers to participation and build stronger relationships with individuals and communities who have experienced limited access to our collections, sites and resources for physical, geographical, technological or social reasons.

Museums, galleries and heritage places internationally are making profound changes in their approaches to collections care and access, and the delivery of exhibitions and public programmes. These new practices will eventually see our museums and galleries firmly embedded in the public consciousness as spaces where anyone and everyone can readily find connection and belonging.

To achieve this, we need to interrogate:

  • Who has a stake in what we do?
  • How do our communities want to access collections and how can we collaborate with them to provide this appropriately?
  • How can we fulfill our commitments of manaakitanga?
  • How do our audiences gain ‘ownership’ of stories and their place in a museum or gallery?
  • How do people of diverse backgrounds see themselves reflected in museum collections and stories, or linked to the culture and history of a region or place, if at all?
  • How do we amplify marginalised voices and promote inclusion?

Inclusive museums and galleries are committed to bringing high quality exhibitions and experiences to their diverse communities, while at the same time providing those same communities with platforms to develop their own connections inside and beyond the walls of our buildings.  Growing networks of artists, makers, communities, performers and organisations – including tertiary institutions, differently-abled artists and performers, activists and cultural groups – are more engaged than ever, contributing and revealing new meanings at the beating heart of all we represent.

This conference will provide us opportunities to advance towards our goal of museums and galleries being waka eke noa – vessels on which we can all travel together. We will examine the barriers, devise new ways of working together to dismantle them and learn from each other on this kaupapa.

The 2017 Museums Aotearoa conference committee looks forward to welcoming delegates to Palmerston North, one of New Zealand’s youngest, most diverse and connected cities, where we will explore these critical concepts further. We invite you to contribute to the programme with your ideas for sessions and presentations – see the call for expressions of interest.

MA17 will comprise three main conference days with additional pre- and post-conference events such as emerging museum professionals (EMP) hui, research symposium, awards celebration, kaitiaki hui and tours.

Our hosts at Te Manawa are planning a range of public programmes to coincide with MA17, and the conference team have great ideas for inclusive programming and social activities – we hope you will join us.


Save the dates:

  • Pre-conference events:  Sat 20 and Sun 21 May 2017
  • EMPNZ: Huakina - Conference 2017: Sat 20 and Sun 21 May 2017
  • Conference:  Monday 22 – Wednesday 24 May 2017
  • Kaitiaki Hui:  Thu 25 and Fri 26 May 2017




Image: He Ara Tae, a Pathway of Colours, a REACT (Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust Inc.) project staged at Te Manawa in early 2015