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237.131 Conversations in Creative Cultures 237.131 Studio Notes Bachelor of Fine Arts

237.131 – Week #5 Notes

Week #5: Colonisation and Nationalism

Group discussion on culture and “banal nationalism”

We discussed how NZ culture has sought definition, and how a kind of idealistic view of what it means to be a New Zealander has been brought into NZ advertising.

Another name for this is Kiwiana, meaning iconic items that have a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Some examples below:

  • Landscapes
  • Sky tower
  • Buzzy bee
  • Baches
  • Hangi
  • Maori
  • NZ wildlife
  • Bungee
  • Maybe Hilux!
  • Fish and Chips

We discussed how these things are how a culture seeks to internally define itself.

What is the purpose of this?

We did discuss how commercial exploitation is an obvious example of why this kind of iconography is used, but our feelings were that it goes deeper than this.

Initially, NZ advertising had a very British approach and feel to it, including the accents and “received pronunciation” common in Britain at time. We discussed how this was perhaps a colonizers approach – to define the colony exclusively in reference to the “mother” country.

One thing we noted was that a transition away from this British-centric approach gradually occurred, with an acceleration in the 1970s as Britain turned towards Europe and away from its former colonies. Then, different accents started to be heard was reached in NZ advertising .

We also noted that at this time there was increased visibility of the diverse cultures than inhabit NZ.

We contrasted visibility versus representation. The other cultures that we saw in the advertising at the time were in the background, and were not part of the main dialogue of the adverts.

Hints and tips on assignment…

We had a brief discussion to give us some hints on how best to write up our assignment. This was an interesting digression, given that I spend most of my day writing anyway. It was helpful to contrast academic writing styles versus what I usually do!

So, we only get 700 words for this assignment (+/- 10%).

How to make the 700 words we have work best?

Make each paragraph about a new concept.(some concept) is from place, time, who, etc.

Use in-text citations.

Conclude at the end of each para, then write an overall conclusion as a separate paragraph.