The Art of Yayoi Kusama

Photo: The Obliteration Room (installation view), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2017

The Art of Yayoi Kusama
Saturday 17 March, 10:30am -12:30pm
Auckland Art Gallery
$55.00 incl. GST
*To claim your Auckland Art Gallery Membership discount please enter the provided promo-code upon booking on check-out page 2

The University of Auckland Public Programmes has partnered with Auckland Art Gallery Membership to provide a unique perspective on avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

In 2014, Yayoi Kusama’s exhibitions were the most visited in the world and she was named the most popular artist. In 2016, Time magazine included her in their issue on the “100 most influential people in the world”.

The Obliteration Room, Kusama’s participatory installation in Auckland Art Gallery’s Creative Learning Centre began as a New Zealand living room drained of colour which now functions as a blank canvas to be invigorated. The white walls, ceiling, furniture and objects in the space will become “obliterated” over time by the mass build-up of dots into a dizzying blur of colour as visitors apply brightly coloured stickers to every surface. Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says Kusama’s work welcomes people into a space to become collaborators on a celebrated artwork that has travelled the world.

This talk, led by Associate Professor Linda Tyler, will take you on a journey into the life and inspiration behind the work of Yayoi Kusama.

Born 1929, Kusama studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York in the late 1950s. By the mid-1960s Kusama had become well known in the art world for her provocative happenings and exhibitions. This lecture will explore and discuss her mesmerising paintings, sculptures and installations and how they have entranced people across the globe.

About the presenter

Associate Professor Linda Tyler: In 2011, Linda was the Robert Lord Fellow at the University of Otago, researching the art and science of nineteenth-century botanist and draughtsman to the Colonial Museum and Geological Survey, John Buchanan FLS (1819-1898). She is a Member of the International Committee on Museums (ICOM) and the New Zealand representative of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand.


Knitted Words: Writing Workshop

Knitted Words: Writing Workshop

3 days, Monday 15 January – Wednesday 17 January 10am – 3pm
The University of Auckland City Campus
Presented by Sara Watson
$285.00 incl. GST

Good writing is like a complex woolly jumper. Solid ideas and excellent writing craft need to be knitted together. If an idea is strong, but the stitches are loose, then the whole thing will come unravelled.

Ideas can come from many places just as certain apricot mohair can inspire a beautiful winter cardigan, but writing craft can be unpicked and examined a stitch at a time.
This course aims to keep participants in a writing mode with practices and tools that they can take away and continue to use in future. The aim is to promote analytical skills towards all features of writing. Participants will begin by zeroing in on individual parts, such as sentence structure, and word choice and then build up over the course to features that encompass the entire text as well as finding ideas through exercises along the way.

Limited to 15 participants

Course outline

Topics covered include:

  • Sentences and Word Choice (and introduction)
  • Dialogue
  • Beginnings and Endings
  • Character
  • Plot and Structure
  • Events and Time (and wrap up)

To finish the class there will be an open forum for students to bring in work for class critique. Participants will be introduced to new directions and explorations in their work, both via exercises and the group discussion. They will find new pathways and discoveries in their own writing and the course will introduce them to new ideas and writing styles. This allows them to grow as authors.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course participants will be able to:

  • analyse and isolate features in their own writing
  • have a stronger understanding of what drives them to write.

By the end of the course participants should have several pieces close to completion. They will also gain knowledge on places where they can submit pieces for the purpose of publication.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to write and is looking explore new writing ideas.

About the Presenter

Sara Watson has been a tutor in Creative Writing for the Auckland University English Department this year. She has an MA in English Literature and is studying towards a Masters of Creative Writing.  Sara is an assistant editor for Debris magazine. She also runs a blog and enjoys making zines.


Spring Week on Campus 2017

Spring Week on Campus 2017

Tuesday 21 – Friday 24 November 2017
The  University of Auckland General Library Building
$90.00 incl. GST

Following the huge success of our annual Winter Week on Campus we are excited to announce Spring Week on Campus 2017, which opens a fascinating window into some of the world-class research carried out at the University of Auckland.

Morning and afternoon sessions feature lectures by distinguished University of Auckland faculty members, chosen for both their subject expertise and their passion for teaching adult students. You’ll join a group of enthusiastic adults who not only have a love of learning but also enjoy the opportunity to debate current issues and meet new people.

Your enrollment in Spring Week entitles you to attend all three lectures each day Tuesday – Friday (12 lectures in total) and includes morning tea.


Spring Week on Campus Programme

Tuesday 21 November
Wednesday 22 November
Thursday 23 November
Friday 24 November

Getting it up in Space – For the rest of us

10:00 – 11:00am Mr Jim Hefkey

The recent rise of Rocket Lab has created an immense interest in space activities in NZ. Kiwis are known for their #8 fencing wire approach to getting things done, and are very proud of it. There is no #8 wire on a venture this ambitious, so how do we approach the complex challenges facing us in the future? This conversation will reflect a bit on personal experience and the achievement of others. It will examine how space activities can be adapted to prepare us for uncertainty, and how the Auckland Program for Space Systems is engaging students from all faculties to get ready for their future.

Jim Hefkey currently holds the position of Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland. He is the founder of the Auckland Program for Space Systems – an undergraduate program that is currently building a satellite that will go into space at the end of next year. With a life-long interest in space, Jims’ goal is to establish space education programmes throughout New Zealand. He is a graduate of the CanSat Leaders Training Program in Japan, NZ contact for UNISEC Global, active in the New Zealand Rocketry Association, and a foundation member of the KiwiSpace Foundation. His other subject interests include Engineering Systems, Engineering Management, and Mechanical Engineering Design. He holds an M.E. in Manufacturing Systems and a postgraduate Business Qualification in Engineering Management. Beginning his career in Canada before moving to New Zealand he has forty years’ engineering experience in manufacturing, automation and machine design. A business owner for ten years, the services he provides to industry include designing automation machinery, productivity improvements, design for manufacture, and design for competitive advantage.


Exploring the genetic landscape of autism spectrum disorder in New Zealand

11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Jessie Jacobsen

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by impairments in social interaction and repetitive behaviours. The disorder is one of the most frequent mental health conditions in children (estimated to affect 1 in 68). An individual’s genetics can contribute significantly in the development of ASD, and international research has shown that alteration in more than 100 genes can cause or contribute to ASD. Our research aims to unravel some of the genetic complexity of ASD in New Zealand, using DNA sequencing technology and to develop protocols to enable cost-effective clinical screening of the most frequently affected genes. This session will discuss the results of the research to date and the progress toward our goal of facilitating an earlier and more refined diagnosis for families. Thus allowing for prompt intervention and improved management to moderate the consequences of ASD throughout life.

This session will discuss the results of the research to date, and the progress toward our goal of facilitating an earlier and more refined diagnosis for families, allowing for prompt intervention and improved management to moderate the consequences of ASD throughout life.

Jessie holds a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship and has an interest in the genetics underlying human conditions and their biological interpretation. She co-founded the Minds for Minds research network, which aims to bring together researchers, health professionals and the community to help better understand ASD in New Zealand.

Communist China in a World of Democracies

1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Stephen Noakes, BA(Hons), MA, PhD

This session explores how one party rule persists in China, despite mounting pressure for reform from both international and domestic sources. Taking the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising as its starting point, it examines how institutional and ideological innovations undertaken by successive generations of communist party leadership not only forestall systematic collapse (as in the case of the Soviet Union), but work to protect and preserve the non-democratic status quo.

Dr Noakes is Lecturer of Chinese Politics, jointly appointed to Politics and International Relations and Asian Studies. Prior to joining the University of Auckland, he was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and a Visiting Research Scholar at Fudan University’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs in Shanghai, China.

A discussion of our travelling habits: The good, the bad, the ugly

10:00 – 11:00am  Dr Subeh Chowdhury, BE(Hons) (Civil and Environmental Engineering), PhD

Dr Subeh Chowdhury is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland. She completed both her bachelor and doctoral studies from the University of Auckland. Before joining the academia, Subeh worked in the industry for 3 years. Her area of expertise is a combination of her background in Civil Engineering and her interest in psychology. Subeh’s research involves examining the needs of transport by various communities. She has a strong passion for serving disadvantaged communities and has focused her research on finding feasible solutions to help them.


Can humans and machines co-evolve?

11:30am – 12:30pm Professor Darl Kolb, PhD, Cornell, MA, Colorado, and BSc, Illinois State

What can we do in a world where robots are eating our jobs? Automation and machine intelligence may make you wonder – what are humans good for? One way to think to about it is not so much that machines and humans are in a zero-sum game, where a job is either held by a human or lost to a machine. Rather than worrying about what machines can do, we should worry about what machines can’t do, because that reminds us what humans (currently) do better than machines. The fact that machines are getting better and better offers a chance for humans to get better and better. Perhaps a more salient metaphor is that of co-evolution, wherein humans and machines are both evolving together. If humans and technology do co-evolve, we must make better machines, and continue to develop our unique human qualities.

Professor Darl Kolb is a pioneering theorist on socio-technical connectivity and the first ‘Professor of Connectivity’ in the world. Darl received his PhD in organisational behaviour from Cornell University and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. His main research interest is in the area of managing personal and organisational connectivity for performance and well-being. Prior to becoming an academic, Darl worked as an Outward Bound Instructor throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Alaska. You can now find him in at the Graduate School of Management within the University of Auckland Business School, or on-line:


The forgotten road to ruin: a new treatment paradigm for acute diseases

 1:30 – 2:30pm  Professor John Windsor, BSc, MBChB, DipObst, MD(Thesis), FRACS, FACS, FASA(Hons), FRSNZ

While there are many causes of acute and critical diseases, the progression to organ failure is remarkably similar, leading to admission to intensive care units and sometime death. This suggests a common mechanism. We will explore the way in which the intestine is injured in acute disease and how lymph draining from the intestine can cause systemic inflammation and the failure of vital organs, such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. The ‘gut-lymph’ concept is a new disease paradigm which opens up exciting strategies for novel treatments.

John Windsor grew up in the Himalayas, trained as a surgeon in Auckland and did a HBP Fellowship in Edinburgh. Currently Professor of Surgery at University of Auckland and surgeon at Auckland City and Mercy Hospitals. Surgical interests include the management of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and gastro-oesophageal reflux and cancer. Research interests includes role of toxic gut lymph in acute diseases and gastric electrophysiology. Published over 358 peer-reviewed manuscripts with an H-index of 60. Has been Chair Section of Academic Surgery in the RACS, Secretary General of International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association. Awarded Gluckman Medal for distinguished research contribution and the Research Excellence Award at the University of Auckland, the Sir Louis Barnett Medal for distinguished contributions to the RACS, was first New Zealander to be elected Fellow of the American Surgical Association and is Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Development trends and challenges of wireless power transfer technologies

 10:00 – 11:00am Dr Patrick Hu, BE, ME, PhD

There is an increasing demand of wireless power supplies for driving movable devices for increased convenience, reliability and safety, particularly under special operating conditions where direct wire connections are difficult or impossible. Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) has become the dominant technology that has been most widely researched on and practically applied. However, IPT has its inherent limitations on the power transfer medium, distance, efficiency, etc, so new Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) technologies are being investigated as alternatives.  In this session Dr. Hu will present the development trends in WPT including new aspects of IPT, CPT (Capacitive Power Transfer), and UPT (Ultrasonic Power Transfer), and then discuss their fundamental features, challenges, and potential applications in domestic, biomedical, industrial, and transportation systems.

Dr. Aiguo Patrick HU graduated from Xian JiaoTong University, China, with BE and ME degrees in 1985 and 1988 respectively. He received his Ph.D from the University of Auckland in 2001 before he served as a lecturer, director of China Italy Cooperative Technical Training Center in Xian, and the general manager of a technical development company. Patrick is currently the Deputy Head (Research) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is also the Head of Research of PowerbyProxi Ltd. He has been a foreign expert reviewer of 973 projects for Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and assessor of ChangJiang Scholars for Ministry of Education. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, the former Chairman of IEEE NZ Power Systems/Power Electronics Chapter, and the immediate past chair of Chairman of NZ North Section. He served as Secretary/Treasurer of NZ Chinese Scientists Association, and now the vice president. His research interests include wireless/contactless power transfer systems, and application of power electronics in renewable energy systems.

Better than nothing? NZ’s programmes for survivors of abuse-in-care

11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Stephen Winter, BA(Hons) (UBC), MA (Dalhousie), DPhil (Oxford)

Since 2006 New Zealand has operated a monetary settlement programme for survivors of historic acts of abuse-in-care. Over the ten years the programme has paid approximately $23 million in settlements to around 1200 individuals. In 2013 and 2014, a series of Cabinet documents described the programme as ‘innovative’, ‘world-leading’ and ‘cost-effective’. This session asks whether those claims are true.

Stephen Winter is presently engaged in a long-term research project concerning the redress of institutional child abuse. He is the author of numerous articles and chapters and the book, Transitional Justice in Established Democracies: A Political Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Awkward City: Auckland Urban Issues

1:30 – 2:30pm Bill McKay, BArch (Hons)

One of the last unplanned cities in the world, Auckland seems to experience more growing pains than comparable large cities. In this session Bill will give a brief and surprising summary of Auckland’s history, addressing questions such as; why are the roads the way they are? Why did we reclaim so much waterfront? And why did we get rid of the trams? It then focuses on current urban issues such as transport, ports, housing and the new Unitary Plan before suggesting a few visions for the future if, as the Council slogan suggests, we really want to be one of the world’s most livable cities.

Bill McKay is an award winning architectural historian, critic, commentator and lecturer at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning. His recent books include Worship: A History of NZ Church Design and Beyond the State: NZ State Houses from Modest to Modern. He discusses urban issues fortnightly on RNZ’s Nine to Noon show and is working on Awkward City, a design history of Auckland.

Log on and blog: Exploring the potential of a digital literacy programme for improving student outcomes

10:00 – 11:00am Dr Rachel Williams, BPHE (Hons), BA (health/psychology), BEd (Secondary), MPH, PhD

Children, particularly those from low-income school settings, can struggle to maintain their literacy learning (reading and writing) over the summer holiday period. Evidence of the ‘Summer Learning Effect’ is well documented both here in New Zealand and overseas. Over the past two years, a team of researchers has developed a digital solution to address the summer slide. This programme, the Summer Learning Journey, has been implemented over four successive holidays in a cluster of ten digitally-enabled schools in east Auckland. The results are exciting and suggest that a digital programme can significantly and dramatically improve student learning and student engagement over a school holiday period. In this seminar the principal investigator will describe the programme in details and explore the potential affordances and challenges associated with the adoption of a digital literacy programme in low-decile school settings.

Rachel Williams is a postdoctoral research fellow working with a team of educational researchers in the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the Faculty of Education & Social Work. She is truly passionate about improving outcomes for children, particularly those most vulnerable or at risk of not achieving their full potential. Over the past two years Rachel has been the principal investigator of a research project designed to raise student literacy achievement in a cluster of digitally-enabled schools. The project has recently received philanthropic funding to expand and introduce the programme in sixty schools across New Zealand. Rachel completed the majority of her tertiary education in Canada (BPHE, BA, BEd, MPH) before moving to New Zealand to undertake doctoral study. She completed her PhD in social health education in 2015. Rachel is a qualified secondary school science and physical education teacher and mother of a young son, Aronui.

Bird-brains or brainy birds? Some thoughts on the intelligence of crows and parrots

11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Alexander Taylor

Are birds smart? While the popular term "bird-brained" is often used as an insult, recent research in the field of avian cognition has begun to suggest that bird brains are actually rather impressive. In this session Alexander will discuss recent results from his work with tool-making New Caledonian crows and the iconic New Zealand kea. He will present evidence suggesting that NC crows hold a mental image of a tool in their heads during tool manufacture and that kea can solve cooperative problems on a par with elephants and chimpanzees.

Alex studied biology at Oxford University before moving to the University of Auckland to take up a Commonwealth PhD scholarship. He then worked at a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, where he was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at Corpus Christi College. In 2012 he took up a position as a Lecturer at the University of Auckland. In 2014 he was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, while in 2015 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand. His research focuses on how minds evolve, and specifically whether nonhuman animals have evolved intelligence with the same type of structure as that seen in humans.

Strangers Arrive: emigres and the visual arts in New Zealand 1930-1980

1:30 – 2:30pm Associate Professor Len Bell, BA , PhD (Auck) , PGDip Art History (Dist) (Edin)

An exploration of the importance and impacts of the art, photography, architecture and visual arts writing of people who came to New Zealand as Continental European refugees from Nazism in the late 1930s and early 1940s, or as 'displaced people' after World War II. They include photographers Irene Koppel, Frank Hofmann and Richard Sharell, artists Frederick Ost, Kees Hos and Theo Schoon, architects Ernst Plischke, Henry Kulka, Imi Porsolt, Frederick Newman, Helmut Einhorn, Gerhard Rosenberg and Tibor Donner. They brought new practices and ideas to this country. The cultural landscape here was changed for the better by their work. Hear how they did it and see striking images of what they did.

Associate-Professor Leonard (Len) Bell is a internationally and nationally renowned scholar, who has lectured in Art History at the University of Auckland for many years. His books include Colonial Constructs: European images of Maori 1840-1914 (1992 & Ebook 2013) and Marti Friedlander (2009 & 2010, Ebook 2013), both published by Auckland University Press, as well as In Transit: questions of home and belonging in New Zealand art (2007) and From Prague to Auckland: the photography of Frank Hofmann (1916-1989), (2011). He was the co-editor and principal writer for Jewish Lives in New Zealand: a History (2012). Auckland University will be launching his new book, Strangers Arrive:L emigres and the visual arts in New Zealand 1930-1980 on 24 November.

All lectures will be held on City Campus at the University of Auckland’s General Library lecture theatres.