TBI 10 - Decade of Change

As part of The Big Idea's 10th birthday celebrations we've been asking the creators, makers, movers and shakers we’ve interviewed this year for their reflections on the past decade.
"A growth of confidence in the dance sector. More skill in marketing our work." Shona McCullagh - NZ Dance Company Artistic and Executive Director.
"I have noticed more young Pacific Island men interested in contemporary dance, which is awesome." Tupua Tigafua - Dancer
"In the past 10 years there has been a general move to improve the infrastructure for dance in NZ. There has been a big increase in the number of dance companies operating in the country. Dance has raised its profile." Ann Dewey - Choreographer.
"I have noticed a lot more independent work arising." Jennifer Nikolai - Choreographer
"More openness, DIY and technology driven projects, and a move through salubrious exclusive design into the realm of the maker, and inclusive projects." Chris Jackson - Industrial Design Lecturer
"Digital fabrication. Some really cool stuff is coming out, using laser cutting, 3D printing, waste-free cutting techniques, digital surface design etc that I wouldn’t have dreamed of when I was a student." Bridget McKendry - eTextiles
"The last decade has seen an explosion in open-source software, generative and procedural design methods, ubiquitous computing, RFID tagging, 3D modeling and fabrication, and on and on." Margaret Maile Petty - Victoria School of Design deputy head.
"The technology has become more sophisticated giving lighting designers many more options which has led to lazy designing." Jason Morphett - Lighting Designer
"I have been living in NZ since last five years, so during this period I think the motion graphics sector has grown a lot." Hitesh Chheda - Motion Graphics Designer
For The Big Idea's 10th birthday celebrations we've been asking the creators, makers, movers and shakers we’ve interviewed this year for reflections on the past decade. Please share yours!

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As part of The Big Idea's 10th birthday celebrations we've been asking the creators, makers, movers and shakers we’ve interviewed this year for their reflections on the past decade. So we’ve bundled their thoughts together, and encourage you to share yours.

As part of The Big Idea's 10th birthday celebrations we've been asking the creators, makers, movers and shakers we’ve interviewed this year for their reflections on the past decade. So we’ve bundled their thoughts together, and encourage you to share yours.

  • Tell us what changes you’ve noticed in the past 10 years in your creative community, via the comment box below.

We look forward to hearing from you as we wrap up this decade and move into the next.

Gallery View: Click an image and scroll, using the arrows, to view highlights of the responses.

* * *

Q: What changes have you noticed in the past 10 years?

  • DANCE

Shona McCullagh - NZ Dance Company Artistic and Executive Director

A growth of confidence in the dance sector. More skill in marketing our work.

Tupua Tigafua - Dancer

I have noticed more young Pacific Island men interested in contemporary dance, which is awesome.

Ann Dewey - Choreographer

In the past 10 years there has been a general move to improve the infrastructure for dance in NZ. There has been a big increase in the number of dance companies operating in the country. Dance has raised its profile. The lines between different genres has become blurred and there is a healthy cross fertilization occurring.

Jennifer Nikolai - Choreographer

I have noticed a lot more independent work arising.

Celia Walmsley - Tempo Dance Festival director

Dance in NZ – a maturity and pride in its own voice, ideas and execution.

Daniel Belton - Dance

An accelerating integration with new technologies.


  • DESIGN

Chris Jackson - Industrial Design Lecturer

More openness, DIY and technology driven projects, and a move through salubrious exclusive design into the realm of the maker, and inclusive projects.

Bridget McKendry - eTextile Designer

The big one I think is digital fabrication. Some really cool stuff is coming out, using laser cutting, 3D printing, waste-free cutting techniques, digital surface design etc that I wouldn’t have dreamed of when I was a student. And it’s still early days!

Margaret Maile Petty - School of Design deputy head Victoria University Wellington

It would be easier in many ways to say what has stayed the same – that is the creative, experimental energy of the design community – than what has changed, which is almost everything. The last decade has seen an explosion in open-source software, generative and procedural design methods, ubiquitous computing, RFID tagging, 3D modeling and fabrication, and on and on. But we can find continuity in the innovative, challenge-seeking nature of the design community. That’s what I love about design. You never get bored.

Jason Morphett - Lighting Designer

The technology has become more sophisticated giving lighting designers many more options which has led to lazy designing. The temptation is to put up a bunch of moving lights and make it up as you go along. We need to stop being driven by the technology and get back to pure design - decide what the scene should look like then back engineer to decide what kit you need and where to put it.

Hitesh Chheda - Motion Graphics Designer

I have been living in NZ since last five years, so during this period I think the motion graphics sector has grown a lot. Most of the ads on TV and also heaps of web content has some kind of motion graphics element to it and the aesthetics has also shifted from raw and quirky style to more European sophisticated and sleek.

Adrienne Whitewood - Fashion Design

More diversity

  • GAMING

Dan Milward

Well for a start a lot of the indie games that are being made today are totally amazing. The entire indie game market is maturing, what impresses me the most is that there are indie game developers out there that are starting to make proper businesses out of this content and generating either themselves or their teams significant wealth. I can think of a number of companies & people based in NZ that started off just like us that are now faring pretty well for themselves on the international stage.
Obviously mobile gaming (mostly iOS) is going crazy right now.

  • DIGITAL CULTURE

Dave Moskovitz -  Webfund and MusicHype chairman, Wellington Startup Weekend organiser

The Gen-Y's are a really interesting bunch – socially aware, wanting to change the world for the better, in many cases caring more about success of the group than individual success. That gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Phlossy Roxx - Blogging

How about changes in the last five years even?!  Learning, development and writing is becoming less paper based, more mobile and interactive.  Classrooms, newspapers and news are so much more instant, accessible and honest.  Companies and brands can’t just run a 6pm news advert for that to be all the awareness of their brand, customers can now share and have an opinion that will get noticed and gain momentum, positive or negative.

  • EVENT MANAGEMENT

Kylie Hawker - Lake Taupo Arts Festival Trust General Manager

The move to online promotion and registration for events has escalated during the last ten years… we used to print and post everything whereas now days we do so much online.  Event participants can learn all about the event online, register online, and provide their feedback online.

I think people are also more enthusiastic about directly participating in events than they have previously been – by that I mean actively participating through volunteering or undertaking events.  In Taupo we have literally thousands of people who volunteer each year to support our major events and the wider community has a great sense of ownership.

Shirley Allan

It’s a real job now! I remember years ago my poor mum trying to explain to her friends what it is that I did for a living ‘so, she organises parties? But what does she do for a job?

  • MOVING IMAGE

Alyx Duncan - Filmmaker

A lot!! Technological advancements now mean more people can shoot more easily without lots of equipment and crews. Film is getting less and less of a priority to finish to. Festivals project digitally. Unfortunately the digital revolution has also meant side effects such as Kodak’s closure earlier this year – a sad moment for the generations that grew up on film.

Leonie Reynolds - Documentary filmmaker

The equipment’s getting cheaper and cheaper. As opportunities to make films expand the creative ideas behind them become more and more important. And Ant Timpson with 48 Hours has done amazing things for the industry in New Zealand and created a new generation of filmmakers with a real gung ho, can-do attitude.

Thomas Gleeson - Director/Editor

It’s a topic that’s been discussed a lot already but when we first started putting together the prop for Home camera equipment was completely different. That was only a few years ago. Advancements over the last few years allowed us to make the film we did, on the budget we did.

Gina Dellabarca - Show Me Shorts Film Festival Director

The move to digital and the increased prevalence of the Internet for submitting, distributing and screening films. The increased visibility and inter-connectedness of the short film creative community thanks to Web 2.0 services

Esther Cahill-Chiaron - Script to Screen Executive Director

I haven’t really been involved in film for long enough to answer that question. I suppose, Digital, digital, digital!  Multi strand non sequential narrative. Less money.

* * *

Actor Robyn Malcolm, network executive Andrew Szusterman and entertainment lawyer Tim Riley
'Argument about the exportation of NZ film and TV'

Robyn Malcolm: I’ve noticed [changes] particularly in television. There is more of it and it's of a better quality. I’m not sure I can say the same for Film.

Andrew Szusterman: The growth of our local industry and the continued acceptance of our content by both local and international audiences. More local Television is being made of higher quality and with better ratings to boot. The adaptation of international formats continues to yield positive results with shows like New Zealand’s Next Top Model and Masterchef leading the way.

Tim Riley: In television, the increasing predominance of reality TV, and the corresponding importance of format sales as a mode of exploitation of television productions. Big Brother, was first screened by Endemol in 1999 and there has subsequently been an explosion of this type of production. The progressive dismantling of TVNZ’s public service broadcasting role has been another feature of the decade....

  • MUSIC AND SOUND

Bella Kalolo - Singer Songwriter

A lot has happened! The reliance on the digital age by the industry. Instant access to music/musicians and the like. Online followers via Twitter/Facebook/Intstagram. Also an uprising of music from Aotearoa throughout the world!

Ruth Carr - Minuit Singer

It is quite f*$%^& mainly. Although, there are some positives and the main one I think is that you can record your own stuff in your garage pretty easily now, and to a high standard - you don't have to spend a big outlay paying a studio to record your music.

  • PERFORMING ARTS

Eve Gordon - The Dust Palace Director, Circus-Theatre

Circus-theatre has gained a lot of popularity in Auckland in the last 3 or 4 years... I think the cabaret / burlesque mesh has been great for audiences who were put off by 'physical theatre' being a bit inaccessible and weird for them... Growing an awareness and an audience! Good changes!

Kylie Aitchison - NZ Comedy Trust Managing Director

Definitely the increased professionalism from the comedians. And the willingness of New Zealand audiences to laugh at ourselves. We’ve definitely lost the cultural cringe, and have embraced comedy as a regular part of our entertainment outings!

Stephen Bain - Live Performance and Theatre Maker

I’ve got a free subscription to the absolute best and biggest library of videos, images and performance writing that ever existed. It’s called the internet. And it’s allowed me to peek into more rehearsal rooms, theatres, concert halls, galleries and converted bedrooms than I could ever have imagined. Part of our changing view of live performance is coping with this expansive amount of new information.

James Wenley  - Theatre Director/Producer

I’m 23 now – I’ve always loved theatre (musicals!) as a kid, but the last ten years has been by great awakening to adult plays and the power of really good theatre, my education, and becoming a real theatre junkie first through Auckland Theatre Company’s Ambassador program, then when I started reviewing five years ago. One of the big changes I think is the growth of independent companies putting on work – I have so many talented peers. I love that you can go to The Basement every week to see something different, and often original.

  • VISUAL ARTS

Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi - Tatau (tatoo) Artist

It's forever evolving in all aspects.

Vincent Ward - Filmmaker and Artist

There’s a meeting ground forming between art and film that could be very exciting, and an openness to find new ways of conveying ideas and for people to discover those ideas.

Rob McLeod - Wellington Painter and Teacher

Fashion’s recycling. Same old in a different way. Often more interesting than last time around. 

Abby Cunnane - City Gallery Wellington

Less seriousness, more collaboration, more work which looks to the archive, or beyond the gallery walls.

Kate Montgomery - Curator

A lightening of attitude and a sharpening of wits.

Deborah White - Whitespace Director / NZ Contemporary Art Trust trustee

An increase in professional standards, better marketing and starting to get communication across different sectors.

* *  * Visual Arts - 10 Year Feature * * *

To kick off our year-long celebration of ten years online in December 2011, critic Mark Amery brought together a discussion of those years in the visual arts from five leading visual arts practitioners - in response to his own thoughts.

Read the comments from artists Judy Millar, Peter Madden, Lonnie Hutchinson and curators Reuben Friend and Rob Garrett.

  • WRITING

Anne O'Brien - Auckland Writers & Readers Festival artistic director

A movement beyond the confines of the ‘national literature’ debate to great New Zealand work that transcends geographical or cultural confinement.


* * * THE BIG IDEA TEAM * * *

Margaret Lewis - Business, Marketing and Communications

I think acknowledging that there is a creative sector is the first change. Richard Florida may have signalled the way with his thinking around the creative class. The success of businesses like Weta Workshop, Park Road Post and Natural New Zealand, our fashion designers showing off-shore, the Royal New Zealand doing a show-all TV series – all of this has brought the creative sector far more into view. The means of creating and making are much more readily available. And social media and the internet make it much easier to share what we do. With all that change, one thing remains constant however, great ideas and thinking are rare - great execution even rarer.

Ande Schurr - Sound recordist - How Freelancers Can Succeed

It’s become lighter and more mobile.

Craig Barlow - The Big Idea project manager

An appreciation that best practice management/business practices/techniques isn’t antithesis to a great creative outcome or sustainable career and might in fact be a damn good idea.

Ben McNicoll - Web developer

Internet. There has been a massive shift across many disciplines in the last 10 years; with the growth of broadband internet, and cheaper computers, working digitally and promoting online has become a necessity not an option. To a certain extent, if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist for many people.

It’s now easier for anyone to attempt to build an audience - the challenges have stopped being technical, and are now about standing out from the crowd through the quality of whatever you’re doing. Your potential audience is global, but you’ll likely only ever reach a smaller proportion of those people.

Lena Kovac - Community and listings manager

Arts Managers have to be all-rounders these days - marketers, fundraisers, communicators, salespeople, psychologists, superheros at times…

Clayton Gould - Editorial Assistant

The whole industry has been turned on its head, with the executives at the top of the food chain stabbing each other (and the fans of the acts they’re supposed to represent), and clinging to redundant business models in order to keep their pool heated. I’m not too sure I like the “download a single” thing, as I believe it’s partly destroying how music is appreciated. But on saying that the bands and muso’s have partly created that themselves by putting out albums containing too much “filler” material.

But for crying out loud stop calling the fans of the acts you represent “pirates”!!

Do we/they prowl the seas with an eye patch and a parrot trying to board your vessel? No – we just want to hear/see it the same time everyone else does!! (and at a fair price) Do not think for a second that everyone wants stuff for free – we will gladly hand over our hard earned dollars to support what we love and live.

However this negative aspect has had its equal reaction in the fact that bands have been forced to lift their game on the live circuit. You can’t put on a shitty show anymore – and if you do, you wont be here next year (or next month!)

I think it’s an amazing thing that bands and artists can do the whole independent thing now, without having to sacrifice any sort of integrity “you know you need to give us a radio friendly single or we won’t promote you”.

Mike & Barney Chunn - Strange News

Mike: Not sure I was there for the first five -  sorry.

Barney: There have been huge changes in the way that music is created, shared and bought in the last ten years. It’s an exciting time to be involved.

Helen Baxter - MsBehaviour Files

Ten years ago when we launched a digital download label to release our music we did it because we had to. Now there are plenty of ways for artists to publish and make money online. Also we rarely talk about ‘new media’ these days, though the phrase ‘old media’ is become more common for print and broadcast.

Philip Patston - Creative Collide blog

(on comedy) It's not as funny as it used to be.

Renee Liang - TalkWrite blog and Cultural Storytellers series

I’ve only been calling myself a writer for about five years so I don’t feel terribly qualified to comment! However, I do notice a lot more appetite for writing and other forms of expression about diversity, and in defining our national identity this way. It’s opened a lot of doors for me personally – I do feel lucky in my timing. Over the next few years I expect many more voices to emerge and for our ideas and conversation around identity to get more complex – a good thing.

Cathy Aronson - The Big Idea Editor

When I ventured into ‘new media’ a decade ago I was a strong advocate of the power of online, community, engagement and breaking the barriers of mainstream media – but not at the expense of journalism and the fourth estate role. I now pine for the once dreaded late shift with the (near extinct) sub-editors and the layers of editors that would scrutinise everything, or complaining because I only had one whole day to do a story. In recent years there has been a revival to fight back for journalism, which is encouraging.

Many of my former colleagues, and some recent mentors, linger as ‘self-editors’ in my head. It’s also great how content is automatically critiqued, edited, added to, remixed, remashed and discussed online…so I know not all is lost.

Elisabeth Vaneveld - The Big Idea executive director

The creative sector is far more digitally astute and how creatives are using digital technology on the leading edge is awe-inspiring and deeply innovative; I’m envious, being a member of “hairy ears” generation to see what those practitioners can do.

Organisations and practitioners in the sector are much more willing to make a stand for a sustainable, viable future – and there’s an increasing willingness to learn the business technology that is part of making that real.

The age of activism through the arts has returned (and yes, some of you will say it never left); however the advent of the internet enabled the concept of “community” just as we were losing that – and so now collaborative, multi-disciplinary arts practices; working in and with communities (wherever and whoever they are) and mainstreaming community arts practice as a powerful change-agent is the new renaissance (just look at Gap Fillers in Christchurch for example).

Watch this space! We'll be hearing more from The Big Idea contributors and team behind-the-scene in the last 10 weeks of our 10th birthday.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

4 Oct 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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