Museum project gives youth a voice

Last updated 15:12 10/11/2012
Urbanlife
MONICA TISCHLER/ Fairfax NZ

IN FOCUS: Henderson resident Edmond Apanui, 17, is focusing on positive aspects of his life through the exhibition Urbanlife, which is running at the Auckland Museum.

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An institution preserving the ancient will hear the voices of Auckland's young this month, as exhibition Urbanlife starts at Auckland Museum.

In an effort to put an amplifier to young peoples' comments on the city, Auckland Museum started the project to engage with youth about issues they care about.

The exhibition is based on six issues from Auckland Council's MacroAuckland report - environment, economic well-being, housing, culture, education and employment.

Each issue was matched to six different groups of Auckland youth to respond to.

Artists like DLT, Anonymouz, and poet Grace Taylor were asigned as mentors for the youth, to help express their ideas.

Bethany Edmunds, Youth Outreach Programmer for the museum, said she started the program because the museum wanted more people aged 15-24 to visit.

''Having worked with young people before, I know it's good to be creative when you engage them,'' she said.

''It just makes things more relevant to them.''

Edmunds said the exhibition, a first for the museum, is a ''testing ground'' for how it will engage with young people.

She has more ideas in the pipeline.

''I'm keen to implement, in the way we do things here, more work placements and internship opportunities at the museum.

"For people aged 15-24, it is such a vibrant time of life. That's what I'm pushing for.''

She said the voices of the youth were very articulate and inspirational, and she found some of the comments about housing particularly powerful.

''There was one moment with the housing group, where they knew there's a lot of stuff going on, but not knowing where they sit within it,'' she said.

''They know it's good and well-meaning for their families, but it doesn't feel good for them. One person said 'the youth voice is never heard'.''

Groups like Henderson's Te Korowai, Youthline Central Advisory Group and Glen Innes' Iam GI worked with the museum on the project.

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- Auckland Now

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