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 centred around two intensive workshops and the development of two long-form texts by each participant in separate halves of the year. Considering the specific social and political contexts of Aotearoa, these two intensives will explore questions around the challenges, ethics and efficacy of critical writing about art. We expect participants to extend, elaborate on, or challenge aspects of these conversations from their own perspectives, exploring art writing as a critical activity across different forms, genres and orientations.

Intensive 1 — Criticism and Care

The programme begins with a group intensive from 6–8 April 2018, held in the outskirts of Ōtepoti Dunedin at Wairoa Camp, Silverstream Valley. This intensive will explore 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 are presented by writers and curators Jon Bywater, Robyn Maree Pickens and Matariki Williams, and educator Pip Laufiso.


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

Intensive 2 — Form and Voice

Taking the texts and ideas developed in the first half of the programme as the starting point, the second intensive will look closely at the potential of language and different formats when writing about—or around—art.

Exploring how to work within and beyond established formats such as the review, the interview and the essay, "Intensive 2: Form and Voice" will consider the politics of how readers are addressed alongside the structure and development of texts. Key considerations include identifying and challenging biases and patterns in language; generative approaches to working with material produced by others; and how we consider the written form in relation to digital and printed environments.

The intensive takes place between Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and Ōtaki, Kāpiti on the 13–15th of July. It includes 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, and Grace Ryder and Sophie Davis.