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Arts and heritage sector may suffer if New Zealand remains isolated

August 27, 2020

Arts and heritage sector may suffer if New Zealand remains isolated

STAYING ALIVE: INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS VITAL. PHOTO: CHRIS FORD. LICENCE: CC BY-NC 2.0

Covid travel restrictions are limiting  Aotearoa’s heritage sector’s ability to train and network with galleries and institutions overseas.

Art conservation technician Giulia Scott specialises in heritage artefact restoration, and said the best training institutions are in Europe, and mainly in Italy and Amsterdam.

She said the mindset of art conservation overseas is a lot different than it is in New Zealand.

“They can provide a great education in the ethical importance of conservation, as well as historical and practical knowledge.”

She said this was because the European countries had a long history and had learned from experience.

“Training overseas also allows people to [personally] view a lot of historical works and professionally meet people working in this field.”

Carolina Izzo, head conservator at Studio Carolina Izzo, said while the country’s feet have been firmly kept on the ground, there have been some positives to come out of the enforced isolation.

She said people were appreciating art in ways they previously didn’t have time for and, after the first lockdown, her business had experienced a swell of interest.

“The peak was probably due to the fact that the people were working from home and looking at the artwork.”

Other heritage institutions have experienced success by creating representations of artefacts that the public can engage with online.

Caroline Ennen, registrar at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy said that during lockdown there was more time to devote to creating online content, but she was aware of the challenges of keeping  that level of engagement up long term.

“It’s easier for huge institutions who have social media teams,” she said.

She said posting paintings and photographs online took time.

“You’ve got to fact check and make sure that your digitisation standards are high enough and check your copyright permissions. There’s so much more than saying ‘this is a pretty picture, whack it online’” said Ms Ennen.

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