Professor Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul Inaugural Address

3 June 2017

A+W NZ member Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul presented her Inaugural Professorial Address at AUT University on Tuesday 30 May 2017, 4:30-5:30pm.

'Of Other Thoughts and Pacific Spaces'. (53:33)

Tina is Professor of Spatial design and Postgraduate Studies, in the Faculty of Design & Creative Technologies at AUT.

Tina also runs Pacific Spaces with Dr Albert Refiti, as well as Interstices with Dr Sue Hedges, Dr Ross Jenner and dr Andrew Douglas.

You can watch the address here. Congratulations, Tina.

Transcript of Inaugural Professorial Address by Tine Engels-Schwarzpaul;

Of Other Thoughts and Pacific Spaces – Inaugural professorial lecture

Auckland University of Technology, 30 May 2017

Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul | Professor in Spatial Design and Postgraduate Studies

School of Art + Design

E koutou te aumangea

Ngā rangatira whakaaweawe

Ngā tohunga tūtakitaki i te mura o te mātauranga

Tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa![1]

Welcome, everyone!

Global spatialities and local commitments

“There is no East or West – there is only the globe” (Wu Man, Silk Road Ensemble, in The Music of Strangers)

East and West, for Wu Man, are oppositions in a conceptual and geo-political divide against which she promotes a common world. For Polynesian navigators, though, uru (west) and rāwhiti (east, where the sun rises) were important reference points for departures and arrivals. This lecture is about the biographical, geographical, political and conceptual navigation that brought me to this lectern to speak to you today. Be warned: it changes direction between sunrise and sunset, and between past and future, several times.

1. Aotearoa

“Micronesian Map and New World Wall Frame” was the Auckland School of Architecture’s prize winning entry in the competition Forty Three Schools From Around the World at the 1991 Venice Biennale. In the installation, timber was framed according to a Micronesian navigation map and the NZ Code of Practice, respectively. The two systems and cultures – one engaging with the flux of water and wind, the other with technology – slid obliquely through each other to form an intricate entanglement.

When we first set up the Māori and Oceanic Space research cluster in Spatial Design at AUT in 2009, Leali’ifano Albert Refiti and I profiled this image, because it showed an early institutional collaboration between Māori and Pākehā academics and students, which won a highly coveted international prize in one of the most prestigious exhibitions globally. To us, it was an example of the potential of the , the in-between, the generative space in which new ideas arise in the search for something in common – out of the juxtaposition of different positions, approaches, knowledges.

In 2013, I chose the same image for the cover of an edited collection, Of Other Thoughts,[1] which was essentially about the same concern in the context of non-traditional ways to the doctorate. I will come back to this project later in this presentation.

A decade before “Micronesian Map and New World Wall Frame” travelled to Italy, I had travelled in the opposite direction, first to New Zealand, later gradually into the Pacific. When I arrived in Auckland in 1983, I followed the motto, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. So, I studied Māori at the University of Auckland, where Pefi Kingi was my tutor, and at Freeman’s Bay Community Centre, where I met my future husband (now ex-husband), Charl Hirschfeld – here with his father and two sisters – and both Charls are here tonight, that makes me very happy. In Charl’s Ngāti Porou whanau, Auntie Sophie Kaa challenged my memory in long sessions during which she told Charl and me about the whanau’s history; Wi Kuki Kaa talked philosophy and culture with us; Keri Kaa commented on my Master’s Thesis; Arapera Blank gently pulled me up prejudices; Hone Kaa, in particular, challenged me in lively discussions. Cousin Caren Wickliffe, now Fox, was an important friend and mentor at the time, and so was Carin Wilson – of course, we were all much younger then. Years later, Wiremu Kaa and Jossie Kaa were to give me important insights during our co-supervision of Moana Nepia’s PhD thesis. These relationships profoundly influenced the way I saw the world. Part of me became Māori.

Theoretically, Ranginui Walker was an important early influence. He later became my PhD examiner and, in 2001, he was a special guest at a hui Unitec’s Whaihanga organised for me to discuss plans for a book based on my PhD. After the presentation, half amused and half annoyed about my anxiousness of getting it wrong, Rangi said, “stop being fussy and get on with it!”

All this, I brought with me when I began to work at AUT in Spatial Design in 2004. Increasingly, my interest turned towards spaces of potentiality – be they called Third Space, Te Kore, vā, Denkraum, Zwischenwelt, space of appearance, or threshold. I no longer design actual, physical spaces today, as I did for 15 years before becoming an academic, but now I want to understand how spaces can be created in which something More develops than technical notions of space would allow.

2. Germany and Europe

Germany was the ground across which I crawled as a baby, learning and creating space. There, I discovered the world through touch and sight, but also through the metaphors and concepts of my culture. My parents, Anni and Paul Engels, made me feel that there was a place for me, which included a safe home, good education and plenty of access to the world. They also taught me a German saying, “If your neighbour’s house is on fire, then yours is at risk” - meaning that turmoil suffered by some, if unattended and ignored, will spread into the entire community. While communities were still comparatively small then (Walter Benjamin could still made a distinction between the “tillers of the soil” and “travelling journeymen” a hundred years ago, Benjamin, 1969), such distinctions have collapsed now – as have national and regional boundaries.

When I heard that my application for professorial promotion was successful, I was in Germany and witnessed the arrival of large numbers of refugees at the European borders. A moral panic ensued in several European countries. Yet, the number of migrants and refugees Europe had to face is negligible by comparison with several countries in the Middle East and Africa or with Dhaka, for example, which took in 2.5 Mio climate refugees between 2007 and 2014.[2]

The inability to think differently about creating and sharing space and resources ultimately led to Brexit and the rise of the Right in Europe and elsewhere. In my spare time in Germany, I do voluntary work with migrants – in 2016 at a woman’s centre in Darmstadt. The shared space is temporary and limited, and the centre compensates by providing a flexible organisation. It enables migrant women, who came to Germany some years earlier and have learnt the ropes, to help new arrivals. Many of these women are multi-lingual, most of them survivors. The situation is principally unpredictable but, to my surprise, I noticed that I was able to settle into different constellations with comparative ease. This, I think, is what I have learnt here, in Aotearoa and at AUT, in an environment where the dominant culture was challenged to engage and negotiate with both indigenous and immigrant colleagues and students. In turn, my experiences and the lessons I learnt in Darmstadt influence my work here at AUT. One observation, for instance, was that every time the support structure became too determined, it seemed to hinder the new arrivals’ engagement rather than help it.

In October 2016, Carolin Emcke received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. I read her books Gegen den Hass (Against Hatred, 2016) and Weil es sagbar ist (Because it is sayable, (2013) while thinking about this lecture. Emcke addresses difficult moments and emotions, mostly in the German past and present, when violence and hatred threaten citizenship and community. In some of her concerns, I recognise those of my generation. We learned, in difficult and sometimes bitter conversations in our families, that coming to terms with our past involved accepting a trans-personal responsibility. Not a collective guilt, as the US proposed then, which causes paralysis and hostility. Rather, it means to accept that everyone who benefits from a past injustice today is responsible to address this past and set it right. In any event, if we want a functioning community, we ultimately have no choice but face the wrongs, past and present, and address them.

“Lampedusa: The blue door”, a chapter in Lorenzo Rinelli’s book, African migrants and Europe: managing the ultimate frontier, starts with these words: “Imagine this space. Visualize the Mediterranean Basin like a vast blue plaque. Now, imagine the dispositif of migration control, freezing migrants’ motions in an endless temporary limbo: …. This is a space in which the “plan is to render undocumented people’s existence ‘invisible and inaudible’ (Rinelli, 2016: 45)”. Heavy policing, however, does nothing to address the problems. When European governments looked for ways of keeping increasing numbers of migrants out in 2015, an often-cited proverb was "You cannot stop the wind with your hands”. Quite apart from the matter of human rights and the Geneva Convention, there is the sheer fact that mass migration is happening and border patrol will not prevent it. Mass migration is an indication of failed politics – but also of failed concepts. It is simply in our enlightened self-interest to want to know how we can do better.

3. Oceania

Rinelli, an Italian political theorist of migration, then cites Teresia Teaiwa and Epeli Hau’ofa’s “We are the Ocean” (2008: 41) to compare their notion of the Oceanic with the divisive cracks caused by European border control agencies in the vast blue plaque of the Mediterranean. I think this is because Hau’ofa has successfully unsettled stereotypes of Pacific Islands as small, isolated and underperforming nations. He created instead a vista of the Pacific as a vast, connected oceanic territory with a shared “culture history” maintained in contemporary processes of world enlargement.

One can see how Hau’ofa’s insights apply to the situation of Lampedusa as an island in in the Mediterranean. Just like the wind cannot be stopped with one’s hand, the ocean cannot be divided by national borders; and poverty, climate change and political turmoil cannot be fenced out. Hau’ofa, I think, can show us that we are all in this together. He waka eke noa. We are all in this together. There is only the globe, in Wu Mans words. Home, for many people today, is no longer the place, nor even the country, where they or their parents and grandparents were born. For Syrian born Silk Road Ensemble clarinettist Kinan Azmeh, “Home is where you feel you want to contribute without having to justify”. In The Music of Strangers, he talks about the complex emotions he has encountered since he has left Syria – like, “can a piece of music stop a bullet?”

Access - arrival

The Silk Road Ensemble not only make music, they also get involved in community work, mostly in schools. They want “to live in the world, not just on a concert stage” and they “reach kids that have never spoken in class”,[3] opening up an access to education that is often missing in our schools.

In his inaugural lecture a while ago here, Keith Tudor, AUT’s Argumentative Therapist, extended the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” to the making of a professor. To have access to the University, students need to feel that there is genuine interest in what they bring with them. Yet the weight of history moves our universities, like super tankers, still in directions laid down by earlier generations of middle-class, white, mostly male academics. During the 1970s, tertiary education became accessible to other groups, of course, so that Charl, for instance, was able to study law. The new generations significantly changed University culture, but then access severely diminished again over the last twenty years. Right now, many of those qualified to enrol for tertiary education cannot afford to do so, and so they are missing from this conversation.

By contrast, you could say that I was made professor in my twenties: then as now, German students pay minimal fees. Depending on their parents’ income, they receive student allowances and/or zero-interest student loans. I became pregnant in my third semester, and our new family was able to live on the combined amounts from student support and the equivalent my family paid, with only occasional money earning spots on my part. We had access to publicly funded accommodation, subsidized student cafeteria food, affordable public transport, and a crèche. When I returned to university, I could bring Wiebke and Wilm to classes, if necessary, and my colleagues would play with them outside during my crits. Obviously, had I not completed my undergrad, I could not have gone on to postgrad studies, and I would not be standing here today. Yet, my double commitments still affected my children, and I thank them for their contribution to this day – not only for accepting, at least partially, that I was not always there for them. But also for helping me understand my students when I started teaching in 1994. Seeing them and my grandchildren explore the world made me see and touch it differently. These two are Wiebke’s sons Levin (with hat, today 22 and studying space science in Delpht) and Tame (with box, today 20 and angling towards medical studies). These two are Rosa and Bela, Wilm’s children.

… and can I use this moment to do a “Hi mum” spot, please? Kia ora, and Hallo, to all whanau and friends who cannot be here, Ihr seid in Gedanken bei mir; anei koutou kei roto i ōku whakaaro; you are here with me in my thoughts.

I am unsure about how personal a lecture like this should be - too much I-witnessing can distract. Yet, in my life, theory has always grown out of experience and practice and, in turn, practice responded to theory. Listening to Walter Fraser’s account of his childhood in Fiji, at AUT’s recent diversity forum, also convinced me that it is important to show how one’s life has shaped one’s vision. Walter’s early experiences enable him to see today, as he put it, “the intersections on the intersections” and, consequently, to challenge invested identities. He therefore advocates for shared commitment rather than assigned identity. The understanding of this difference, or perhaps its negotiation, will become ever more important.

When I went to school, there were 2.5 billion human beings walking the earth, then the largest number in history. 50 years later, we are at seven approaching eight billion. For 2050, the estimate is ten billion. Today, almost one billion people go to bed hungry each night; 2 billion are, according to UN calculations, in some way malnourished.[4] Growing food shortages are likely to lead to political conflict: in the past, the riots in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya that started the Arab spring, for example, were preceded by unprecedented price increases. Add to this climate change….  We are now closely connected with people far away, even if many of us don’t take notice. Our way of life has contributed to the changing weather patterns and water levels in the Pacific, which are causing mass migration. With a record number of estimated 60 million displaced people worldwide in 2015 (Wihbey, 2015), we are facing massive migration movements. To deal with these challenges successfully, we need to learn about more generative relationships and rethink access and distribution of space. And this starts with examining our world view more generally.

As Pare Keiha sometimes points out, it makes a difference whether you believe that you owe your life to a punishing god, or the Great Chain of Being that puts humans, and some humans more than others, at the top of creation – as does the related theory of natural and social selection, where only the fittest survive. These ideologies have supported capitalism and colonial exploitation, the horrors of the Third Reich, and currently they justify growing disparity everywhere. By contrast, the belief that human life evolved along with other life forms in an accommodating symbiosis, or that it arose from the loving embrace of two primordial parents, Papatūānuku and Ranginui, likely leads to different strategies in coping with the crises that face us. I am therefore interested in how some of the minor Western traditions of thought might relate to Pacific thought. We could think, for example, of Tane’s separation of Rangi and Papa, which created Te Aō Marama, as the creation of a space for thinking freely – a Denkraum, as Aby Warburg and later Hannah Arendt called it. How can we think in this space together, how can we wiggle and change position, be creative and reflective?                                

Of Other Thought: creativity in the vā

The first three PhD candidates I supervised, two of them together with Welby Ings, deliberately sought to deploy Other Thoughts (that is, approaches both linked to and different from the prevailing Western epistemologies and methodologies) to pursue knowledge creatively in cross- or transcultural fields. Here are Drs. Azadeh Emadi and Moana Nepia, whose work I will show you while I talk. Moana is a choreographer, dancer and visual artist from Ngāti Porou - today Assist. Prof. at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. Azadeh Emadi is a spatial designer and video maker from Iran, currently teaching in Communication Studies here at AUT. If you are interested in their theses, you can access them through the links on my staff webpage.

Working with these PhD candidates made me reconsider pedagogies of supervision in the light of increasing numbers of non-traditional students. For there is an interesting, generative intersection of creative practice-led research agendas and non-European approaches to knowledge. Non-traditional candidates (typically not male-white-middle-class-and-fit, as the majority was thirty years ago, see Taylor & Beasley, 2005: 141) have, if well supported, extra-ordinary contributions to make to our common body of knowledge.[5] In terms of cultural background, there are at least two groups of non-mainstream students in Aotearoa: Māori and more widely Pacific cultures, on the one hand, and non-Western international students. Through them, Other Thoughts enter Western educational institutions (Beck & Grande, 2010: 410), but they largely remain outside the prevailing normative frameworks of knowledge production (see, Olssen, 2003:89). When these students have supervisors who are not quite at home with their research agendas, support is best provided by assuming a position of epistemological modesty (Arendt, 1992: 33; Barone, 2008: 35). In this situation, I found it useful to think about myself as an Ignorant Supervisor, someone who did not know what her candidates had to learn. The Ignorant Supervisor’s role, according to Jacques Rancière, is to affirm the equality of intelligences in all their diversity rather than conveying knowledge; to discourage false modesty and to encourage learning – all that through experiment and experience, attentiveness and persistence, and the use of one’s own intelligence.

I have used Rancière’s writings to test notions of a thing in common, alongside Benjamin’s notion of thresholds, Arendt’s use of Denkraum and her development of Kant’s imagination as an enlarged mentality, and Homi Bhabha’s third space. Subsequently, Azadeh and I co-authored a paper, Thresholds as Spaces of Potentiality: Non-traditional PhD Candidatures in Art and Design (Engels-Schwarzpaul & Emadi, 2011).

Ranciére’s thing in common is highly relevant for creative practice-led theses. “[P]laced between two minds, [it] is the gauge of … equality”, an egalitarian intellectual link (Rancière, 1991: 13), a bridge or passage. The thing acts “as an always available source of material verification …” (32) and, thanks to its materiality, it also establishes and maintains a distance. Here we have that distance again, the Denkraum, which in this case prevents explication, “the annihilation of one mind by another”. Man made things provide continuity for Hannah Arendt: “those who are gathered around them know they see sameness in utter diversity”. Only in “the simultaneous presence of innumerable perspectives and aspects”, can “worldly reality truly and reliably appear” (1998: 57). Here, a thing in common not only mediates different perspectives, as with Rancière, but it also contributes to a world in which plurality prevails over hierarchy.

Over time, theoretical explorations of my supervision experiences led to the publication of the edited collection I mentioned earlier, Of Other Thoughts, together with my own supervisor, Michael Peters, who had contributed to the conditions of possibility that made my PhD life changing (see Engels-Schwarzpaul, 2014). The book contains 25 chapters written by PhD candidates and supervisors from several countries and disciplines, together with Michael’s and my own reflections on supervising non-traditional theses. A year later, I edited a special issue of Knowledge Cultures, Of Other Thoughts and Renegade Knowledges,[6] a sequel to the book as it were. In the process, I became increasingly aware of the extent to which the Western illusion of a separate individual limits our ability to think significantly differently from what we know already not to serve us well. Māori and Pacific philosophies, and those of many other cultures including parts of my own, are much closer to a larger reality.

It stands to reason that candidates who have their feet in more than one culture, speaking more than one language, are at an epistemological advantage. If they are able to weave Māori, Pacific, and Western knowledges, for instance, they can, pursue innovations arising in the interface of Pacific and Western conceptual knowledges. They can advance our design of spaces, systems and landscapes in distinctive ways by drawing on “unique perspectives on aspects of knowledge creation such as posing questions, solving problems, the creative moment in which a realisation or understanding takes place, the way in which research is communicated, and the very concept of knowledge itself” (MORST, 2007: 9). Importantly, Indigenous knowledge approaches also foreground the question, “who benefits from this knowledge” (Smith, 1999).

If we, at AUT, manage to bring together “innumerable perspectives and aspects”, into a relational “space of appearance” – our vā – we can, as students, researchers and teachers, begin to constitute a shared reality. We can bring a Kantian enlarged mentality into the practice of training our imagination to go visiting, so that we can think critically “from the standpoint of others” (Arendt, 1992: 42-43). The space of this visiting imagination, which is “open to all sides” (43), will afford the very interactions and communications that, for Arendt, constitute the political and enable critical education.

We, at AUT, can make a unique contribution to a world that seems, right now, to be poor in imagination for a better, shared future in a global village that is bursting at its seams. We could look to Te Ao Mārama, to Denkraum, to Third Spaces and to the vā as threshold phenomena opening onto spaces of possibility.

Pacific Spaces

To investigate the conditions for generating space – at the levels of thought, relationships, land-, sea- air- and culture scapes, right down to individual buildings – Albert and I set up the Pacific Spaces research cluster ( We work in the interface, as the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology calls it following Professor Mason Durie, equally engaging Pacific and Western thought to address questions like,

  • How are Pacific spaces generated in relationships, given form in architecture, and performed and exhibited in customary and contemporary contexts?
  • What does it mean to be Pacific when Pacific people migrate and live in diasporas?
  • How do Indigenous modes of knowing and doing space change from site to site?
  • What happens when images, objects, buildings and performances circulate in global networks emanating from, and returning to, te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa?
  • What relationships arise out of those movements?

Participating in global relationships and committed to local agendas, spaces in the Pacific encompass manifold traditions, thoughts and material cultures. Similarly, the ships bringing the tangata Tiriti to Aotearoa not only brought ideas akin to Chain of Being but also some about networks of accommodating symbioses, which resonated with Māori concepts of cosmic and worldly relationality (Salmond, 2012 ). Pacific Spaces projects engage these alternative conceptual approaches - to transform thinking and research concerning contemporary and customary ways in which Indigenous Pacific people know the world, and produce spaces, buildings, objects, rituals, performances and relationships.

An overview or our projects can be found on our Mahi / Galuega / Projects page (, our researchers are listed on the Researchers tab (, on our Taonga/ Measina/ Treasures page ( we are in the process of building a resource of texts, images, moving image etc., and, finally, our Panui / Tala fou / News page informs you about our activities ( We organise quite a few lectures, seminars and other events during the course of a year.

In internal and public conversations, we currently seek to develop a particular Pacific version of the concept of the iconic, which we call tupua at the moment. To do so, we have to engage with difficult colonial histories of translations between different traditions. I don’t want to go into those histories in the context of the notion of the iconic, but they come to the surface, for example, on the website From the perspective of world enlargement, the project seems confined and exclusively aimed at those who can afford the product. The process echoes colonial land appropriation, and there is an additional question regarding the appropriation of koha as a concept.[7] Is there, in a clearly capitalist venture, room for reciprocal relationships based on tika, pono and aroha , integrity, respect and compassion (Mead, 2003)? Who chose this logo for a venture centrally based on the alienation of land and water? The colonial mind-set is supposed to be obsolete, so we can move on. However, this website suggests strongly that colonial concepts are still operational. If so, they are likely to block alternative developments and it becomes important to deconstruct those barriers, as it were, from inside (Böhme & Engels-Schwarzpaul, forthcoming, 2017: 45-6).

Zero-sum theories, for instance, assume that everyone competes for an unchanging total – one party’s gain must mean an equivalent loss for the other. This mentality, of the same spirit as the Great Chain of Being, fuels xenophobia globally. By contrast, Māori have demonstrated generative, non-competitive ways of sharing and creating resources when they generously offered marae infrastructure to house people in need in Christchurch and Auckland. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

And remember Rinelli’s deployment of Hau’ofa’s “We are the ocean”. The latter’s ideas may help us deal with the world’s limited resources more imaginatively. Hau’ofa’s world enlargement “is carried out by tens of thousands of ordinary Pacific Islanders right across the ocean … making nonsense of … borders that have been defined only recently, crisscrossing an ocean that had been boundless for ages before Captain Cook’s apotheosis” (2008: 58). Important here is “an informal movement along ancient routes drawn in bloodlines invisible to the enforcers of the laws of confinement and regulated mobility.” Pacific people enlarge their world by “establishing new resource bases and expanded networks for circulation. Alliances are … forged … with the tangata whenua of Aotearoa and will inevitably be forged with the Native Hawaiians.” (Hau’ofa, 2008: 35)                                      

Renegade Knowledges: Professing dissensus

While I edited Of Other Thoughts, I realised the importance of renegade knowledges, as different kinds of intelligence appear in the preserves of academic knowledge production. Newcomers, at their moment of success, can visibly change the educational system. However, candidates pursuing Other Thoughts can become exploitable resources, assimilated and institutionalised (Engels-Schwarzpaul, 2016), when the very forces that previously discounted their value seek to assimilate their energies to their own purposes. Thus, creative practice-led theses were added to the university’s “product range” after years of struggle.

Māori and Pacific candidates’ theses, which attract twice the standard Government completion funding, have recently met with increased interest. This is a positive development and an opening to cultural difference. However, the extra funding is paid to the institution, not the candidates, and does not necessarily improve their research conditions. The substantial additional funding was set up to motivate universities to provide scholarships and specific support to Māori and Pacific candidates. There is, however, no evidence that this has resulted in a commensurable number of substantial scholarships. No policies appear to exist for the allocation of this funding, which, consequently, seems to disappear into a big black hole. As far as I know, this is more or less the same in all New Zealand Universities – but that does not absolve us at AUT from addressing this issue. When we do that, let’s not forget that this money has already been earned by Māori and Pacific graduates.

Further, not enough staff are qualified to supervise theses focusing specifically on Māori and Pacific themes. Ethnicity, of course, does not guarantee competence in a culture’s core concerns. Nevertheless, that the percentage of Māori staff at AUT has remained static over the last decade does raise questions. And, principally, the same applies to Pacific staff numbers. I also wonder how our individualistic style of supervision and examination affects the work of students for whom an “I” always involves a “we.”

How do they frame their research and understand knowledge? Are we able to accommodate collective researcher identities, parameters and procedures (Bishop, 2011; Bishop, Berryman, & Wearmouth, 2008)? Can we engage with concerns that are foreign to the rhetorical figure of community in neo-liberal frameworks?[8] How do we consider knowledge that is held by communities? Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari, he toa takitini - My strength is not mine alone but comes from many.

We need to be clear about these matters – otherwise, assimilation may impose “a unidimensional, one-way process by which outsiders [relinquish] their own culture” to blend into a dominant environment (Abercrombie, Hill, & Turner, 2006, p. 20). We may then return to established practices that degrade, convert, and possibly eliminate the unsettling and creative potential of dissensus (Chambers, 2012: 73). If institutions with a genuine interest in inclusion and openness try to understand the disagreement and disruptions caused by renegades, their reward may be the discovery of unexpected spaces of possibility.

The rise of poverty is another issue I need to raise in the professing part of this lecture. From my window, I look onto Myers’ Park, here on a rainy day. Over the last 4 years, I have seen evidence of increasing homelessness – until the police come and ‘move them on’. Visiting Auckland in 2013, sociologist Richard Sennett noted that gated communities have become the “most popular form of residential housing in the world” because it ensures that we don’t see that kind of thing.[9] Indifference is the common mode of ignoring the problems around us … like students who go hungry regularly – we heard about that only last week.[10] The new poverty affects Māori and Pacific students, single parents, mature students and other marginal groups disproportionally. The least we must do is to stop looking away. Carolin Emcke describes how traumatised people need recognition through testimony, and how recognition is fundamental to human dignity (Emcke, 2013: loc130; 2016:loc2138).

Of course, once we start looking and engaging, it becomes more difficult to refuse requests for justice and equality. We have to face our privilege and realise that, if something is not a problem for us personally, that does not mean that it isn’t problem. Adjustment is relative: “When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression” (Unknown). For Pākehā, privilege is based on the inequity caused by the generations preceding us. If you have ever been to a Waitangi Tribunal hearing, you will know the cost for Māori. The Tribunal does a great job to revisit history and deconstruct colonial concepts. The hearings empower the claimants, establish a different history, validate the claimant’s rights, bear testimony to their trauma and open up “an alternative set of futures” (Peters, 2016, p. 26). What they don’t do, however, is provide equity and compensation. Redress, as it is called, usually amounts to something close to one percent of the total value of a claim – rarely does it reach two digit percentage figures.

As Helen Clark recently explained,[11] the Treaty language in policy documents was replaced by equity terminology after Don Brash’s 2004 Orewa speech, because policies supporting Māori specifically were unpopular. These changes often cause confusion, but we need to distinguish between rights and obligations agreed on in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equity issues following from social justice principles. They are not the same.

The absorption of extra funding for Māori and Pacific candidates’ completions into general funds has something to do with implicit privilege. So does the fact that Māori and Pacific students are more likely to go hungry than others. But can we Pākehā face the fact that we still benefit from the very treaty breaches the Waitangi Tribunal addresses? Actually, we have no choice but face it, for when our neighbour’s house is on fire, our’s is at risk, too.

Scholarships to increase participation for Māori and Pacific students should aim towards both success and equity, excellence and access, enlarging the space available for experimentation, solidarity, role modelling and engagement – for all students. Who gets to define, however, what counts as excellence and access is crucial. Because we know already that we cannot leave those decisions to our existent processes and systems – biased towards prevalent privilege as they are.

Tika, pono, aroha – integrity, respect and compassion. Once those values are part of our māori (small m, meaning ordinary) activities at AUT, our shared vā, our research and teaching will be richer. Add mutuality, utu, as the basis for bi-culturalism; hospitality, manaaki as the basis for multiculturalism …

"The issue of what or who is a Pacific Islander would not arise if we considered Oceania as comprising people as human beings with a common heritage and commitment. … As far as I am concerned, anyone who has lived in our region and is committed to Oceania is an Oceanian … “ (Epeli Hau'ofa, The Ocean in Us).

Sometimes I lose heart when I think about how little our discipline can do to address directly the pressing issues of inequality, poverty, racism, global conflict and displacement, something I share with the musicians collaborating as the Silk Road Ensemble. However, even though our contribution to a better common world is indirect and not very tangible, art, architecture and design are not without consequences.

Says Silk Road shakuhachi player, Kojiro Umezaki (from Japan), Art means opening to possibility – possibility leads to hope – we all need hope”.

Danke | kia ora | fa’afetai lava | malo | thank you!


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Arendt, H. (1998). The Human Condition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1958)

Barone, T. (2008). How arts-based research can change minds. In M. Cahnmann-Taylor & R. Siegesmund (Eds.), Arts-based research in education: Foundations for practice (pp. 28-49). New York, NY: Routledge.

Beck, U., & Grande, E. (2010). Varieties of second modernity: the cosmopolitan turn in social and political theory and research. The British Journal of Sociology, 61(3), 409-443.

Benjamin, W. (1969). The Storyteller. Reflections on the Work of Nikolai Leskov. In H. Arendt (Ed.), Illuminations (pp. 83-109). New York: Schocken.

Bishop, R. (2011). Freeing ourselves from neo-colonial domination in research. Retrieved from

Bishop, R., Berryman, M., & Wearmouth, J. (2008). Te Kotahitanga: Towards effective education reform for indigenous and other minoritised students. Retrieved from

Böhme, G., & Engels-Schwarzpaul, A. C. (forthcoming, 2017). Atmospheric architectures: The aesthetics of felt spaces (A. C. Engels-Schwarzpaul, Trans.). London, UK: Bloomsbury

Chambers, S. A. (2012). Jacques Rancière’s Lesson on the Lesson. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(6), 637–646.

Disch, L. J. (1994). Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Philosophy. Ithaka, NY: Cornell University.

Emadi, A. (2014). Motion within motion: investigating digital video in light of Substantial Motion (PhD). Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, NZ. The process work "Silence day in Bazaar" (2008) shown during the presentation is currently not available online.

Emcke, C. (2013). Weil es sagbar ist: Über Zeugenschaft und Gerechtigkeit. Essays. Retrieved from

Emcke, C. (2016). Gegen den Hass. Retrieved from

Engels-Schwarzpaul, A.-C. (2014). Cosmopolitan Outlook: Opening Doors and Letting Learn. In G. Lazaroiu (Ed.), Liber amicorum: A Philosophical Conversation among Friends. A Festschrift for Michael A. Peters (Readings in Contemporary Philosophy) (pp. 159-168). New York, NY: Addleton Academic Publishers.

Engels-Schwarzpaul, A.-C. (2016). Border Crossings: Introduction. Knowledge Cultures, 4(1), 11-24.

Engels-Schwarzpaul, A.-C., & Emadi, A. (2011). Thresholds as Spaces of Potentiality: Non-traditional PhD Candidatures in Art and Design. ACCESS Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural and Policy Studies, 30(2), 1-14.

Engels-Schwarzpaul, A.-C., & Peters, M. A. (Eds.). (2013). Of Other Thoughts: Non-traditional ways to the doctorate. A guidebook for candidates and supervisors. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

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Nepia, P. M. (2013). Te Kore - Exploring the Māori concept of void (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, NZ. Retrieved from Of the thesis work, Kehua/Sheets was shown during the presentation:

Olssen, M. (2003). Foucault and critique: Kant, Humanism and the human sciences. In M. Peters, M. Olssen, & C. Lankshear (Eds.), Futures of critical theory: Dreams of difference (pp. 73-102). Lanham, MD: Rowman&Littlefield.

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Refiti, L. A. L. (2015). Mavae and Tofiga: Spatial Exposition of the Samoan Cosmogony and Architecture (PhD). AUT University, Auckland. Retrieved from

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Warburg, A. (2010). Werke in einem Band. Auf der Grundlage der Manuskripte und Handexemplare, herausgegeben und kommentiert von Martin Treml, Sigrid Weigel und Perdita Ladwig. Unter Mitarbeit von Susanne Hetzer, Herbert Kopp-Oberstebrink und Christina Oberstebrink. Berlin: Suhrkamp.

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Carl Douglas - for a beautiful CAD drawing from his PhD research that I adapted for the background of chapter slides,

Albert Refiti - for a beautiful hand drawing from his PhD thesis for some Pacific Spaces slides,

Cliff Whiting - 'Te wehenga o Rangi rāua ko Papa' (Te Papa marae),

Azadeh Emadi - for expert support in video editing and digital image processing,

The Music of Strangers Official Trailer - for the raw material from which I produced the clips.


… and thanks to all the people who have supported me and formed my thoughts and feelings and curiosities … apart from those already mentioned (in order of appearance): Walter Jost, Lili & Johannes Engels, Dietmar Schwarzpaul, Peter vom Endt, Gert Selle, Bernd Meurer, Hartmut Vincon, Babs Bombosch-Friedel, Gabriele Dietze, Nina Corsten, Edgar Peinelt, Sebastian Cobler, Peter Hoffmann, Uli Stahl, Antonia Armbruster, Uli Schmidt, Ian Jervis, Merimeri Penfold, Duncan Wu, Thomas Bromm,  Susanne Tapsell, Dorina Jotti, Sylvia Kaa, Peter Wills,
Maui Solomon, Tavake Afeaki, Robert Pouwhare, Gwyn Jenkins,  Alex Davidson, Peter Lee, Haare Williams, Yvonne Hawkes, Rau Hoskins, Alan Smith, Linda Tyler, Helen Kingi, Lucy Holmes, Barbara Grant, Nesta Devine and Michael’s Maidens, Desna Jury, Lourdes d’Souza, Fleur Palmer, Sue Gallagher,  Peter Gilderdale, Dale Fitchett, Natalie Robertson, Nova Paul, Chaz Dougherty, KT Ho, Chris Braddock, Mon Redmond, Champa De, Angela Anderson, Nihara Huck, Rosser Johnson, Sophie Hayman, Beryl Woolford-Roa, Lemi Ponifasio, Helen Todd, Leonard Emmerling, Janet Eades, Tarchin Hearn, Mary Jenkins, Keri Wikitera, Rob Allen, Andrew Douglas, Helena Mill, Pare Keiha, Robyn Ramage, Jenni Tupu, I’u Tuagalu, Marianne Brieskorn-Zinke, Gernot Böhme, Carl Mika, Lynne Giddings, Marilyn Waring, Judith Pringle, Liz Smythe, Janine Randerson, Edwina Pio, Walter Frazer, Mindy Wee … the people at Student Learning Centre and CFLAT, many-many students, all the people whose names I don’t know and without whom AUT would shut down, … and apologies if I have forgotten anyone! …



[2] BBC Crowd Science 22.4.17 at 7:35am

[4] Feeding the planet: beyond the £250,000 hamburger. The Guardian, Sunday 11 August 2013 19.56 BST

[5] “[W]here Arendt constructs natality as a problem of distinguishing oneself in order to generate power, for members of groups that have been excluded from a public realm, the problem is to have one’s distinctiveness recognized as an excellence, not a deviation from existing norms. In that case, the problem is not to distinguish oneself in order to be accorded power but to seize power in order to redefine the standards by which distinctiveness is recognized. (Disch, 1994: 57)

[8] See see Edwards and Baszile, pp. 85–99, and Singh, Manathunga, Bunda and Qi, pp. 56–70 in Knowledge Cultures, 4(1) – 2016.

[9] Feature Guest - Richard Sennett RNZ Nine To Noon, 10:07 am on 11 June 2013.

[11] 5 May 2017, The commander – Helen Clark 9th floor, RNZ, @51:40


[1] To you the persistent and determined | The chiefs who wield influence | The experts who continue to stoke the flames of knowledge | Greetings, tributes and acknowledgements to you all.