Extended Conversations is a programme for emerging art writers based in Aotearoa, co-convened by Enjoy Public Art Gallery and Blue Oyster Art Project Space. Part online publishing platform and part mentoring programme, this initiative will build, sustain and share dialogue between emerging participants and established writers from March to November 2018.

Exploring art writing as a critical activity, Extended Conversations is structured around two intensive workshops and the subsequent development of two long-form texts by each participant. The programme has been developed considering the specific cultural and artistic contexts of Aotearoa, exploring questions around the challenges, ethics and efficacy of critical writing about art.

Participants are currently engaged in extending, elaborating on, or challenging aspects of these conversations from their own perspectives, exploring art writing as a critical activity across different forms, genres and orientations. This website, which will continue to be updated this year, is home to texts developed in the first part of the programme. Another instalment will be published in response to part two in late 2018.

Intensive 01 —
Criticism and Care

The programme began with a group intensive from 6–8 April 2018, held in the outskirts of Ōtepoti Dunedin at Wairoa Camp, Silverstream Valley. The intensive explored the idea of reciprocity in critical exchange from a variety of perspectives, considering the dynamics between criticism and care as a way of welcoming writers into the programme and collaboratively mapping out peer feedback structures.

The sessions during the intensive were presented by writers and curators Jon Bywater, Robyn Maree Pickens and Matariki Williams, and community activist and educator Pip Laufiso.

Intensive 1 Reading List


  • Extended Conversations Intensive 1: Criticism and Care
    Images courtesy of Enjoy Public Art Gallery and Blue Oyster Art Project Space

ISBN 978-0-473-44407-5

He uri au; he uri tātou
Jessica Aitken

Nothing Important
Simon Gennard

Representation and Humour in South Asian Aotearoa Art
Dilohana Lekamge

To name and amend
Francis McWhannell

Here is the place where I will keep you
Hanahiva Rose

On mud
Amy Weng

Intensive 02 —
Form and Voice

Exploring how to work within and beyond established formats such as the review, the interview and the essay, Intensive 2: Form and Voice considered the politics of how readers are addressed alongside the structure and development of texts.

The intensive took place between Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and Ōtaki, Kāpiti on the 13–15th of July. It included a morning tea and kōrerō with Shannon Te Ao, a close reading session with Rachel O’Neill and Thomasin Sleigh, and presentations by Gregory Kan, Grace Ryder and Sophie Davis. Taking the ideas developed in the first half of the programme as a starting point, programme participants and presenters discussed the potential of language and different formats when writing about—or around—art.

Intensive 2 Reading List


  • Extended Conversations Intensive 2: Form and Voice
    Images courtesy of Enjoy Public Art Gallery and Blue Oyster Art Project Space