Marlborough and Nelson.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I am a graduate of the University of Auckland dance studies programme. I graduated with my first class honours degree in dance and I am currently studying towards my PhD in Dance studies. I have a passion and particular focus for the instrumentalist use of dance and how it can be used to foster a sense of community, identity, and belonging. I also have experience in arts education where I have taught dance in primary, secondary, and tertiary contexts. My past research and creative practice have been in New Zealand and Tonga, where I have explored links between policy, education, and community arts practices. I am currently located in Marlborough where I am finishing my PhD, focused on creative arts practitioners working in unique community contexts. Within Marlborough I also manage a Arts collective and work with students from the two local high schools on a Pacific performing arts programme to help them develop their cultural identity through the arts and gain NCEA credits in dance.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
I have specialised training and practical experience in performing arts, achieving a Bachelor of Dance Studies, first class honours. In addition to this I am currently studying towards my PhD in dance, where I have developed rigorous research knowledge and skills within the area of arts within community and educational contexts. Further to this, I have been working at a college to develop and deliver a Pacific performing arts programme for the last three years to help students gain a sense of cultural identity and belonging as well as experiencing academic success through gaining NCEA credits in dance. In line with this work, I have worked with a local creative artist to produce Marlborough's first Pacific theatre production, which achieved critical success in ticketed sales. Within the community, I volunteer to manage a local arts collective in Marlborough, which teaches performing arts to young people. My particular focus is to mentor the young people who are aspiring to pursue careers in the arts. I help them to become teachers within our community programme by providing support and mentoring.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
I have taught dance to a variety of age groups ranging from primary aged children right through to tertiary. I have also worked in various contexts teaching dance, such as universities, schools, community groups, and dance studios. My particular area of expertise working with young people has been using arts as a medium to foster creativity, identity and belonging. I have worked with young people in Tonga within a community dance context to help foster a sense of confidence and belonging through dance. In Marlborough I have continued this work, managing a local arts collective, where I support and mentor young people who want to be dance teachers and pursue a career in the arts. Further to this, I have worked with Pasifika young people in designing a performing arts programme, which fosters cultural identity, expression, creativity, and leadership.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
I would like to be involved in the Creative in Schools programme as I have a passion for arts education - integrating arts and creative practice into all aspects of a student's learning journey. I believe in what Howard Gardner says: "It's not how smart you are that matters, what really matters is how you are smart." I believe that every learner is smart, they just express their intelligence in unique ways with creative arts being a key expression of knowledge and self. I know the power in the arts to foster innovative mindsets, build confidence, express oneself, enhance collaboration and social cohesion, and the list goes on. It is for these very reasons that I want to work within school contexts to develop these key transferable skills in young people. I hope to inspire young people to develop and actualise their creative potential, potentially leading them into a career or further education in the arts.