Panel Discussion

Māpura Studios invites you to join us in discussion of Unconscious Bias
on Wednesday 4th October
@ Studio One,  Toi Tū ,
1 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland

drinks & nibbles 6.30pm
discussion starts 7.00pm - 8.00pm

As a group Māpura wonders how we can dissolve the unthinking divisions between our artists and their communities that are physically close yet often emotionally remote. Divisions that are as powerful as they are silent.

We would like artists and people who are interested in art from the community to join us in the studio but a lot of people seem to automatically feel they can’t. Serious exhibition spaces don’t tend to consider the work of our artists outside the rubric of ‘disability’ or ‘community’ art. (Although ironically Outsider Art is developing as an effective moniker to freight ideas into the mainstream with.)

We would like to understand unconscious bias as it relates to social structures. Does a hierarchical structure engender bias more than a flat structure would? Is the hierarchy a disabled structure? At Māpura we are inclusive and don’t prioritise physical over intellectual disability, or abled over disabled.

Actually we struggle with blunt, binary terms of reference such as ‘abled/ disabled’ that innately privilege one group over the other, and want to focus on diversity for this discussion as a more open term. We look to art as a medium that can free a good idea from the dreariness of ignorance.

Zeus Mehta,  Untitled Triptych , 2017

Zeus Mehta, Untitled Triptych, 2017

The moderator and panelists  Good Eh  Studio One, Toi Tū panel discussion of unconscious bias.

Moderator:  actor/ writer Peter Feeney
* John Perry artist and Outsider Art curator
* Karen Janiszewska: parent of Māpura artist Halina
* Tim Melville director of the Tim Melville Gallery
* Erica Tiedemann Māpura artist
* Richard Northey local politician
* Dr Molly Mullen academic

Moderator Peter Feeney

Actor and writer

Peter has been a professional actor far too long. Prior to this he was a graduate student in the Soviet Centre at the University of Melbourne (he also studied Russian and lived there for a year). In theatre he has appeared at the Fortune, Court & Circa theatres in New Zealand, The QTC in Australia, as well as numerous independent productions. Notable credits over a long career include Kiwi films Toy Love and the zombie hit Black Sheep, playing the iconic Rose Noelle skipper John Glennie in the tele-feature Abandoned, playing the title role (as well as directing) the popular stage play Milo’s Wake and playing the NZ Film Award nominated lead role in The Platform.

Peter works continually (more or less) in both NZ and Australia: in 2016 he had a regular role in NZ TV series Dirty Laundry as well as guest roles in Wentworth and the US TV drama 1953, and multi-episode roles on Wanted 2, Dear Murderer and season 2 of Cul de Sac. His latest film outing was a leading role in Vermillion this year. He is currently a guest actor in the Queensland based TV series Harrow. Peter teaches actors at his own Auckland Studio, and is guest tutor at New Zealand’s leading drama school The Actors Program.

He’s also a published author and short story writer. He read his first novel, Blind Bitter Happiness, on Radio NZ National, and it was serialised in Metro magazine. Peter has written articles & travel stories for Quote Unquote, The Australian Left Review, NZ Listener, North and South, the NZ Herald and the Sunday Star Times. Peter has an Honours degree in Politics & History from the University of Melbourne and a Diploma in Drama from the University of Auckland. Finally, and most importantly of all, Peter is also the proud parent with wife Nic of three young, rather loud, and very expensive children.


John Perry

Artist and Outsider Art collector and curator

John Perry is one of New Zealand’s most well-known social history, folk art and natural history enthusiasts, and an avid collector of all things New Zealand. He is a legendary public gallery director, archivist, historian and authority on New Zealand's applied arts and material culture. From his time as Director of the Bath House Museum in Rotorua, to his ownership of the cornucopia that is Global Village Antiques in Helensville, John’s influence, eye and ability to track down the most fascinating of objects has inspired, influenced and occasionally bewildered literally thousands of collectors, visitors and the plain curious. John is also a practising artist and lives and works in Helensville.


Karen Janiszewska

Mother, full time carer and best friend to Halina

Karen is a mother, full time carer and best friend to Halina, who has been making art at Mapura Studios for over 8 years. In a previous life, Karen was a Paediatric Occupational Therapist and then a Home Schooling parent for over 15 years.


Tim Melville

Director of the Tim Melville Gallery

Tim Melville opened his Auckland gallery in 2007 after returning home from 20 years’ living in London.

Arguably best known for his representation of emerging New Zealand artists Tim’s project has also been to introduce a roster of Australian artists, including those from Aboriginal communities, to a new audience on this side of the Tasman.

Represented artists include Andrew Blythe, Joe Sheehan, Elliot Collins, Roberta Thornley, Matt Arbuckle, Sally Gabori and Star Gossage.


Erica Tiedemann 

Māpura Studios artist

9 years ago at age 34 I suddenly had a seizure. Then another, then another, then another. My life changed overnight. Diagnosed with epilepsy I had over 1000 seizures within the next few years. I need 5 different anticonvulsant medications, several times a day, to keep me seizure free. Overnight I lost my independence. My sense of pride; my sense of self. I lost my ability to read. I could no longer study neuropsychology. Oddly, despite the bruises, the bitten tongues, disorientation, dangers and injuries, the hardest part for me is facing my most feared question, 'So what do you do?' 

I am trying to work out how to answer this with my head held high. 


Richard Northey

Advocate and local politician

Richard has a long history of advocacy through political appointment and community engagement. He was elected to the Waitemata Local Board as a City Vision Candidate in October 2016 where he holds the Arts, Culture and Events Portfolio and is the Associate Portfolio Holder for Community and Facilities. Richard has also worked as a contractor for the Arts Council and Arts Access Aotearoa.

Dr Molly Mullen

Educator and academic

Molly Mullen is a lecturer in applied theatre at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work, Aotearoa New Zealand, where she is a member of the Critical Research Unit in Applied Theatre. Molly’s recent publications focus on management and funding in applied theatre. She is also involved in researching arts education practices engaging with issues related to place and ecology. Prior to lecturing, she worked professionally in theatre education, youth theatre and community arts in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.