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Cultural Conversations comes into its own as part of Nelson's art scene

A small arts hub on Nelson’s Hardy St has grown from small beginnings to become a thriving part of Nelson’s art scene.

Cultural Conversations was born at last year’s Arts Festival as an exhibit at the top of Trafalgar St.

The Voice Collective’s Tanya Nock, who began the initiative, wanted to showcase the artistic talent found among Nelson’s diverse group of ethnic minorities.

But more than just exhibiting their work, Nock wanted to get a conversation going. “We want to listen, ask questions, and hear stories,” she said.

When the not-for-profit group Make/Shift Spaces approached Nock about a collaboration, Cultural Conversations found a longer-term home at 222 Hardy St, the former Barkers store. Full of ideas, Nock got to work, her resolve growing after the Christchurch shootings. “What happened in Christchurch really fuelled me up. We can’t have a tokenistic approach anymore. For any action to take place we need to step back and let ethnic minorities lead the way.” Nock tapped into her contacts, “building cultural bridges” in the community and working with representatives from different cultural groups. Now, Cultural Conversations has become a thriving arts hub, where music, art and theatre bring people of all ages and interests together, Nock said. The workshops and performances on offer in the space are as diverse as the people who run them, covering a wide range of skills and disciplines, Nock said. In the next week or so, there’s a soundpainting workshop with Alvaro Saura, a paper fashion workshop with Poorna Daundasekara and a Chinese paper fan dance workshop with Haiying Shi. Anyone can attend the events for a koha. By keeping it affordable, Nock hoped to attract a wide range of people, starting the conversations that will bring about change, she said. “I want us to do better, to acknowledge our privileges and the gaps in our knowledge, and commit to justice. For this to happen I believe it is not just about bringing ethnic minorities in, it’s about those with power and privilege making space and giving up some of that power.” Find out more on the Facebook page, Cultural Conversation at 222 Hardy Street. Source: Amy Ridout05:00, Nov 12 2020, Stuff



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