Past event

26 July 2023
5:30 - 7:30pm

(Artist) Life School: How to hold space and speak in public

Design: Annamieke Montagne

Design: Annamieke Montagne

26 July 2023. Free entry.

Wednesday 26 July, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
FREE, but registration is required: please email
Venue: Toi Auaha, 5 Worcester Boulevard, Ōtautahi Christchurch central city (across the road from Bunsen Cafe and The Arts Centre)

Being an artist is more than just making work - it’s also about presenting it to our peers and the public. From exhibition openings and whakatau to artist talks and panel discussions, we’re likely to be put on the spot and expected to speak about ourselves and our work in public at some stage.

When it comes to speaking in public, everyone has witnessed the good, the bad and the painfully mispronounced. We’ve invited two very experienced speakers who will share insights on how to create and hold spaces that are socially responsible, culturally engaged and inclusive. This event is an opportunity to learn some tips and scripts to help navigate the often confusing spaces between hosting, introducing yourself, and speaking about your work within an Aotearoa context.

This session will be accompanied by a short workshop on writing an artist bio, so please bring a draft along if you’d like to create or update it. We will have a range of examples and advice on hand so that you can tailor your bio.

(Artist) Life School was originated by Audrey Baldwin for The Physics Room, supported by Toi Ōtautahi and Honey Brown, current Access Coordinator at The Physics Room. The series brings together contemporary artists and those working in the arts to further develop professional skills and sets out to answer questions around maintaining a practice out in the world. Ideal for recent graduates and emerging artists, each workshop hosts an industry professional to discuss practical realities of making, resourcing, and showing your work. This is the ninth event in the (Artist) Life School series. We're always interested in your thoughts on useful topics for future (Artist) Life School workshops - īmera mai!

Nic Low is a Ngāi Tahu author and arts organiser, originally from Ōtautahi, who has semi-recently returned home after close to two decades in Melbourne. He is currently the Partnerships Editor at New Zealand Geographic and was programming lead and co-director of WORD Chch Writers Festival in 2021-2022. He holds a Masters in creative writing from the University of Melbourne and has been a guest at festivals across Oceania, Asia and North America. Lowe’s multi-award winning short fiction, essays and criticism have been published widely in Australia and Aotearoa. He regularly judges writing prizes, and has recently sat on juries including the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. As a former artist, Lowe has also exhibited at festivals across Australia.

Jennifer Katherine Shields is an artist, advocate and event producer from Ōtautahi. She previously studied the University of Auckland in both a BFA and a BA, with a focus on queer theory and history. She is currently working with Pegasus Health on improving gender-affirming care in Canterbury, and is the interim director at Qtopia, a social support service for LGBTQIA+ communities, serving Te Waipounamu. In the past, Shields has worked or exhibited at Artspace Aotearoa and RM, both in Tāmaki Makaura; trans/forming feminisms, Ōtepoti, 2015;, RDU and CoCA Centre of Contemporary Art Toi Moroki, Ōtautahi.).

Free Downloads:
Notes from (Artist) Life School: How to hold space and speak in public (pdf)