Art History in NZ under threat

Concerning news from two art history departments in New Zealand about threats to jobs and resources. Threats to jobs at VUW and threates to the fine arts library at Auckland. Submissions are encouraged on both issues – the high profile, and effective, campaign to keep art history taught in schools in the UK shows the importance of lending our voices to support our discipline.

SAVE Art History at Victoria University of Wellington

As reported by AAANZ Art History at Victoria University of Wellington is under threat. A recent ‘Change Proposal’ means that the department is facing the imminent loss of a Senior Lecturer, along with its Administrator – with further staff cuts threatened in a year’s time.

The programme at Victoria provides historical, social, cultural, political and aesthetic frameworks fincludes teaching specialisms focused on historical and contemporary New Zealand and Pacific art, European art, and in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and history of photography.

Submissions are open on all aspects of this proposal. I will be writing a submission this week and I encourage other art historians and curators in Australian and NZ to do liekwise. Too often art history is taregeted as a perceieved ‘soft discipline’, ignoring the vital skills it tecahes, and the great demand for art history education amongst students. ‘Support VUW Art History‘ is encouraging submissions from far and wide in order to make explicitly clear the vital role played by this department in the arts landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand, we encourage you to make a submission (submissions close Midday, June 29, NZ time).

You can read the letter sent to Vice-Chancellor of VUW, Professor Grant Guilford by President of the AAANZ, Anthony White. It can be viewed and downloaded here.

For more information see:,or email

Submissions are open until midday, June 29, and should be emailed to Lillian Loftus, Faculty HR Manager at

Elam Fine Arts library at the University of Auckland threatened with closure

Also via the AAANZ an update on the proposed closure of the Elam Fine Arts Library. You can read more here about the threat and the history of the library.

From the AAANZ

I recently wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland regarding the proposal to shut down their Elam Fine Arts Library. You can view my letter here:

The response I received from the Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon, argued that the University’s review and restructure process “does not provide for submissions from external parties.” In my view this unsatisfactory response shows how short-sighted the University administration is, particularly given the historic and  contemporary significance of the Library to the local and broader art communities.

A sense of the institution’s current priorities can be gained from the significant amounts of money it pays for senior management to become members of the exclusive Northern Club. For more on that see

We are awaiting further clarification from staff at Auckland about the ongoing process involving the library, but in the meantime updates are available at

I would urge everyone to make your views known about the Elam library through that page or by writing directly to the Vice-Chancellor at

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