Last month I was invited to a meeting with Liz Knowles from the Dunedin City Council in regards to something top secret that I might be 'interested in'. My email reply stated that "I am a bit tied up at the moment but I do like secrets so, yes, I would like to meet up." Thank goodness intrigue got the better of me as I found myself being invited to an UNESCO Dunedin City of Literature reception with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. While Prince Charles and HRH Camilla were on tour in New Zealand they were interested in seeing cultural and conservation work. For the Dunedin visit Camilla specifically requested seeing work that had links with Scotland, hence I was invited to show The Westland project which was a collaboration between Joanne B Kaar and myself.
|Chatting! Photo credit Sharron Bennet.|
|Our display table.|
Also in attendance and presenting work was Phillippa Duffy from the University Book Shop showcasing a display of local literary gems alongside Dame Lynley Dodd, author and illustrator who happens to write HRH’s grandchildren’s favourite books. University of Otago Design for Technology student Ben Alder, had the PoeTICK project in action. This was such fun, he had modified two pay-and-display parking machines so that when you pressed a button a poem printed out. I got a fragment of one of my favourite poems by Hone Tuwhare which was also incidentally one of many wall dots which Liz Knowles had printed out to decorate the reception space.
|A painting of William Young's discharge papers and yes, I had to sneak in a flour bag.|
While meeting HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was obviously a career highlight there was the unexpected bonus of finding an appreciative audience amongst the other guests. This was an audience who had not seen the Log Books when they were exhibited in a gallery previously and included Professor Tony Ballantyne (whose research areas include colonial history and ships), Dr Donald Kerr from Rare Book Collections University Library, Lecturers from the Humanities Division and local writers. Here were people who appreciated aspects of history being celebrated and interwoven with the present. I was also pleased because in general artists’ books often go under the radar and in this instance the written content in the books and our source, Jonathon Moscrop’s Journal (1879) were also honoured.
After speeches HRH Camilla left the Otago University Council Chambers building to the sound of bagpipes and then guests were treated to an afternoon tea. You can find out more about UNESCO Dunedin City of Literature here: http://www.cityofliterature.co.nz/
|Noel Waite, Alan Rodderick, HRH Camilla, Liz Knowles (DCC)|
and Bernie Hawke, Arts and Culture Manager.
Photo credit Sharron Bennet.