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Three sessions involving different speakers considered the questions ‘Do institutions matter?’ and ‘If so, how can we take better care of them?’ at the Space Academy on Sunday afternoon.
Freerange Press brought together a range of voices to instigate and nurture a dialogue around the means and ends of institutions and bureaucracies. The ensuing discussions explored what other language and knowledge we can learn from institutional workers and participants that can help improve existing institutions both in Christchurch, and in our own lives.
Byron Kinnaird and Barnaby Bennett co-chaired the sessions. They are both directors of the Freerange Cooperative and together edited Freerange Vol.11: Institutional Love.
This series of speakers was followed by the launch of Freerange Vol. 11. Both events shared a proposition towards a more nuanced and caring approach to institutions.
Session 1 featured:
Sylvia Smyth, who spoke about her work with NGOs in Vietnam, her time with the UN, and coming back to Christchurch to work for the Council and Renew New Brighton.
Garry Moore is the former Mayor of Christchurch and spoke about the bureaucratic joys and struggles of leading a council in New Zealand.
Jane Gregg is the director of Life in Vacant Spaces, an organisation that brokers empty buildings and vacant sites for creative use.
Session 2 featured:
Marney Ainsworth, who worked for the Public Service Association for many years and contributed to Freerange Vol.11. Marney spoke about unions as institutions.
Zion Tauamati talked about his experiences with church, youth work and his love for the institution of music.
Ash Holwell is a community worker, performer, and was very close to becoming a Whangarei City Councillor at the last election. Ash spoke about setting up new creative and community institutions.
Session 3 featured:
Raf Manji is a Christchurch City Councillor and former currency trader. He discussed what it is like to work in financial institutions and how this affects his experience in the council.
Christina Van Boheman is the president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and talked about this institution and its role supporting architects, architecture, and the built environment.
Anne Cunningham is the co-director of Te Pūtahi: Christchurch centre for architecture and city-making. She was also involved in a number of architecture and design focused organisations in her home country of Scotland.
This project was presented by Freerange Press.
Photographs by Alexis Carlier.