Arts in Action

We live in a fractured and fragmented society where disparities between prosperity and well-being are increasingly evident, where our planet and its natural resources are under threat and where a globalised environment alienates us from a sense of place, belonging and identity.

The arts provide an independent forum and medium through which it is possible to analyse and address issues of concern to humanity and our planet, and in doing so, to celebrate our power to act and to speak out. The arts are a final bastion of freedom.

Arts in Action is created by Depot Artspace, an open and inclusive creative community in Devonport, Auckland.



Arts in Action: The transformative power of creative leadership



Inspiring creative leadership has the capacity to transform a workplace, a community, a region or a country. The creative mind can provide new insight into ongoing issues that are continually plied with the same unsuccessful solutions. A few inspirational leaders have shown the significant difference that innovative solutions are able to make and Depot Artspace has been fortunate to take part in their initiatives.

“I have wanted to meet Jason Smith from 2011, the time I encountered his work as Senior Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage where he produced a cultural map of Auckland which was initially displayed on the Auckland Council website.” Read More…




Walking, one sense at a time #smell



Our latest addition to Arts in Action is a piece by Iryna Zamuruieva that we received from our call out for submissions. Iryna is an artist, arts activist, researcher and project manager, who has developed an urban walking experience project for the CBD neighbourhood. She has designed a series of walks that will encourage the participants to re-experience city in a playful way. Her first sense-walk took place on Saturday 2 June in the Auckland CBD.

“I would like to believe there is another way – a deeply attentive one, the one where the smells are sniffed, sounds heard, textures touched, and tastes are tasted. Walking this way transforms the city space from a transit zone where a route may be just a way from one destination to the other, into a place where a different kind of experience is co-created, different kind of relationships with material or abstract things are made and maybe even curious questions about the things are emerge“…read more…

Photo credit: Iryna Zamuruieva




Standing the test of time and integrity: PACE/ArtsLab



Well-known and widely quoted politicians are often haunted by a past of broken promises which competing parties and mischievous reporters are wont to exploit. George Bush’ famous “watch my lip…no new taxes” is such an example, never to be forgotten or lived down.

If there’s someone who can’t be faulted when it comes to standing by their commitment, especially in the creative sector which is often under-represented and overlooked, it’s Helen Clark….Read More…

Photo credit: Fairfax Media https://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/the-9th-floor/story/201842639/the-commander-helen-clark




Missing the Mark: The choice of locations for sculptures honouring women’s suffrage in Aotearoa New Zealand.



This year, 2018, marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

While Council is honouring this significant event, we are bemused by their omission of Devonport as a site for a commemorative sculpture since Devonport has been recorded as the first place women voted in Aotearoa, and from 2013 local women have been advocating for a sculpture here. Read More…




The continuing Auckland University Library debacle: Why it’s such an important debate



Since the shocking announcement last month that Auckland University was about to burn books in its specialist libraries there has been a deluge of collective opprobrium at what amounts to an outrageous attack on democratic values and represents the zenith of philistinism.

Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, infers that the objections are misguided, unnecessarily disputatious and tantamount to hysteria in his recent response to the issue in the NZ Herald, April 30, 2018. Read more…

Greer Twiss centre, Peter Siddell and Richard Killeen. Photographer Gil Hanly




Reflections on the implications of size: Pt 1 Small is Beautiful



Why is small beautiful when everything promoted as powerful, spectacular and worthy of respect in society – motor vehicles, buildings, personal appendages, bank balances – seems to mock the statement? Super yachts, super powers and, more lately, super cities all proclaim the glory of size. Read More…




Save the Arts, Our Last Bastion of Freedom



The Depot has a sibling arts centre in Rawene, comprising gallery, café and bookstore, Erewhon Secondhand Quality Books. We travel between places as often as time allows, to pick up and drop off artwork as part of a creative exchange, and to restock the bookshelves.

Books are a big part of this community’s creative hub. The room in which I am writing looks across the road to Rawene’s Community Library housed in the old courthouse out back of which is a police lock-up that maintains the same sense of Spartan sequestration from the 1860’s when it was built.

There’s an elegant irony about the current occupancy of this building, because books, and our easy access to them are a significant aspect of freedom, something we have come to take for  granted over time; at least until it is threatened.

Then suddenly horror and opprobrium beset us, such as when we read that books are likely to be culled from specialist libraries at Auckland University. We have been assured that the books will not be burnt, but – before we uncork the bubbly – shredded instead. Of course the means of disposable are irrelevant to the deceased, and to all who protest at such wanton disrespect for the cultural products of civilisation.

And in Auckland City as the visual arts are dealt this similar savage blow, so sport arises triumphant, its centerpiece to be the staging of the Americas Cup in the city’s CBD.

Of sport, world-renowned linguist Noam Chomsky says it keeps us in readiness for war; aggressive opposition, strategic moves, following orders, even camaraderie built on overcoming adversaries are all of it associated weaponry. We’re in a society where truculence is part of the fabric of post-Obama politics and we are in desperate need of antidote.

So, as Auckland’s Supercity moves to expunge arts and culture from its annual agenda we appeal to everyone who values freedom to stand up for the arts, for the engaged, reflective, creative mind is the last bastion of freedom.

Photo credit: Save UoA Fine Arts Library from Closing Facebook page.

Author: Linda Blincko (Creative Director)




Eating Big Fish



In the giant ocean small fish swim more safely in schools. There is no desire amongst them to draw attention to their presence as personalities; it would more than likely mean danger, the possibility of being picked off by creatures larger and more predisposed to mischief.

Better to live in a less self-interested manner; in making sure that survival for everyone, not just a privileged few, is easy. Standing out is not an issue for small fish. Read More…




Liberation Arts and its place in Peace Making



Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964)

Being nuclear free is a defining component of New Zealand identity, celebrated by cities across the country who have adopted peace city status. What a fantastic characteristic to know ourselves, and for the world to know us by!

It is a bold declaration for cities to make because commitment is necessary to bear the fruits of peace. Commemoration is great, and reflection also, but action is essential. Read more…