School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies

Past Events

Book Launch: Soundings of Hellas by John Davidson

Date: 18–19 October 2015

Time: 3.00 pm

Venue: Greek Cultural Centre, Hania Street

Steele Roberts Publishers and the Hellenic New Zealand Congress warmly invite you to the launch of John Davidson's new book Soundings of Hellas.

The poems in this collection reflect John’s extensive study of the history and culture of Greece, his visits to Greece and related countries, and his connections since the early 1960s with Greek people in Wellington. The dedication is ‘to my Greek friends’.  Ancient and modern Greece are placed side by side in an evocative combination of the serious and not so serious!

RSVP by Friday 9 October to or phone (04) 475 3138 



Classics Honours Information Evening

Date: 7 October 2015

Time: 5.00 pm

Venue: OK526 Classics Museum

Have you thought about doing Honours in Classics, Greek or Latin?

Come along to the 2016 Information Evening.

Past and current students will talk on their experiences. Lecturers will be available to talk to and the courses that will be offered next year will be announced.

Nibbles and refreshments served.

Please RSVP to Hannah Tokona

End-of-year breakfast for Māori and Pasifika students

Date: 6 October 2015

Time: 8.30 am

Venue: SU229 (Memorial Theatre Foyer), Kelburn Campus

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Student and Academic Services Office warmly invites our Māori and Pasifika students to an end-of-year breakfast.

Join us for breakfast to:

  • get energised for study
  • grab information on exciting opportunities
  • talk to an Adviser about Trimester 3 and 2016
  • celebrate the last two weeks of lectures!

Please RSVP with 'Breakfast' in the subject line by Friday, 2 October to

Download the Māori and Pasifika Breakfast 2015 Poster (PDF, 885KB).

Victoria, the Classics and the Memory of World War One

Date: 29 September 2015

Time: 8.00 pm

Venue: Hugh Mackenzie LT 104

Professor Art Pomeroy will speak on 'Victoria, the Classics and the Memory of World War One. 

Victoria College of the University of New Zealand marked the twenty-fifth year of its existence at Easter 1924 with the opening of the northern extension to the Hunter building. However any celebration was muted by the memorials unveiled to the fallen from the College. These monuments will be compared with similar works in Australia and New Zealand to show how the 1924 memorials mark a change in the religious and educational ethos in New Zealand that followed the Great War.

FIHRM 2015 Access is a Human Right Conference

Date: 22–24 September 2015

Time: 8.45 am

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā maunga, e ngā awa, e ngā mātāwaka, nau mai, haere mai. E ngā pātaka o ngā taonga tuku iho, tēnā koutou.

Kī mai ki ahau, ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao?

Māku e kī atu, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!'

The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, in association with Victoria University’s Museum and Heritage Studies programme, is pleased to welcome delegates to FIHRM 2015.

FIHRM 2015 will give you and your colleagues opportunities to explore the ways museums are becoming more accessible – intellectually, physically and culturally.

The 1990s saw many museums extending their focus to address issues around access and social inclusion. Museums were inspired to become champions of diversity and human rights, and digital media enabled new forms of community engagement. Meanwhile, many post-settler societies ushered in radical new approaches to preservation and interpretation – including in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Now, in 2015, it’s time to take stock. What have museums achieved in these areas? Where have these changes taken us? Where are we heading now?

Join us for three days of stimulating talks and workshops, led by presenters from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

  • Tues 22 Sept: Social inclusion, its contents and discontents
  • Weds 23 Sept: Indigenising Museology
  • Thurs 24 Sept: Current practice and future directions

The Michael Volkering memorial lecture will be held at Soundings Theatre on Wednesday night at 6pm. This event is a free public lecture which is being held in conjuction with the FIHRM conference. There will also be an opportunity for Museum and Heritage Studies Alumni from Victoria University of Wellington to get together.

Register now

Beyond the New Museology? Taking stock of inclusion, access and decolonication

Mark Masterson Book Launch

Date: 11 September 2015

Time: 5.00 pm

Venue: Classics Museum, Level 5, Old Kirk Building

Come and celebrate the recent release of Mark Masterson's book 'Man to Man: Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood'.

RSVP by Friday 4 September to or 463 5319.

Wellington Classical Association Quiz

Date: 10 September 2015

Time: 7.00 pm

Venue: Hunter Lounge, 3rd Floor Student Union Building, Kelburn Campus

Test your classical knowledge in this fun quiz! Lots of prizes to be won.

Only $2 entry fee.

Max of 6 people per team - please RSVP to 

Night at the Museum

Date: 19 August 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: OK526 Classics Museum, Level 5, Old Kirk Building

As well as introducing you to our lovely new acquisition, we'll be taking a look at some interesting new uses in 3D technology in the field of classics. Come and take a look at interactive tours of ancient sites, Rome rebuilt, and our own current project to 'print' some of our vases - and try your hand at an ancient Greek drinking game!

All welcome 



Should there be religious limits to absolute media freedom of expression?

Date: 10 August 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

The Religious Studies Programme, in association with the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious Understanding and Relations and the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions, invite you to a timely seminar. Following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris there have been calls for renewed consideration of the nature of media freedom and freedom of expression. Should there be unlimited press freedom? Should media be allowed to deliberately offend minority communities? Should they be permitted to do this repeatedly? Do our democratic freedoms rely on freedom of expression and a “free press”? Can we have a media that is well informed, free and responsible?

We have tended to debate this issue in terms of a clash of competing human rights and have historically privileged the right of media freedom over minority religious rights. We already have restrictions on unbridled media freedom in relation to decency, privacy and facticity. Should we have religious restrictions too? We also have protections in terms of the new Harmful Digital Communications Bill, the Press Council, the Broadcasting Standards Act and union and media outlets’ codes of practice. Do these work? Do they protect vulnerable religious minorities in New Zealand? Do we need further debate on these issues?

The aim of this discussion is to focus on the New Zealand context and creatively debate and discuss the issues, led by our panel who will address such questions as: Are religious communities sufficiently protected in NZ from offence and discrimination in the media? Do the NZ press do a good job reporting religion, accurately, fairly and in an informed fashion? Would guidelines on not causing religious offence overly restrict press freedom in NZ? Does NZ have a free press?

Moderator: Ced Simpson
Plenary speaker: Paul Morris
Panellists: Dave Moskovitz, Tayyaba Khan, Jenny Chalmers, Tom Scott, Selva Ramasami, John Shaver
Rapporteur: David Zwartz
Coordinator: Robert Mackay: 2105 Parliament of the World’s Religions

Details (141 KB)

“Peace, not war, shall be our boast” - Call for Papers

Date: 3–15 July 2015

Time: 9.00 am

“Peace, not war, shall be our boast”:

Historical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives on Peace and Christianity in New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington, 18-20 November 2015

This conference offers a forum for critical reflection on Christian contributions to peace and peacemaking in New Zealand. It will provide an opportunity to evaluate Christian contributions historically, and consider the relationship of peace to Christianity. We welcome papers addressing a broad range of themes related to peace and Christianity in New Zealand. A publication is anticipated. 

Please email a title and abstract (up to 250 words) by 15 July 2015 to the conference organisers: Geoff Troughton (, and Chris Marshall ( 

The conference will be hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, with support and assistance from: The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago; The Religious History Association of Aotearoa New Zealand; The College of St John the Evangelist, Auckland.

Read more

Amphorae IX

Date: 1–3 July 2015

Time: 9.00 am

We are pleased to announce that AMPHORAE IX will be held at Victoria University of Wellington from 1 to 3 July 2015!

AMPHORAE is Australasia's foremost postgraduate conference encompassing all aspects of research in the ancient world. The conference is open to postgraduate students at Honours, Masters and PhD level who research antiquity, be it literature, archaeology, history, historiography, art or reception studies in the prehistoric, Egyptian, Near Eastern, Hellenic or Roman worlds.

This year our theme is 'Wisdom begins in Wonder' a famous paraphrase from Socrates. We think this theme encapsulates the inquisitive spirit of AMPHORAE and hope it will encourage a wide variety of research papers on the ancient world.

As a postgraduate conference, AMPHORAE offers a unique opportunity for postgraduate students to present their research to their peers, in a supportive and encouraging environment. AMPHORAE is a great introduction for students to the world of conferences, and encourages them to participate and interact with speakers on an academic level. At most conferences, postgraduate students are not given the same opportunity to present their own research, so AMPHORAE is a key outlet for this research, as well as a learning exercise for all who attend.

We are delighted to announce that our key-note speaker will be Dr Jon Hall from Otago University. In addition to a workshop (TBA) we will be offering tours around our wonderful museum.

The deadline of registration and abstract submission is NZDT 9pm on Friday 5 June.

Please check the Amphorae IX website periodically for updated information.

Wellington Classical Association Lecture

Date: 26 May 2015

Time: 8.00 pm

Dr. James Kierstead will give a lecture on 'Democracy and (in)equality in Ancient Athens: A Digital Humanities Project'.

Tuesday 26 May @ 8pm in HM LT104 (Hugh Mackenzie), Kelburn Campus 

For many people, democracy and various sorts of equality go hand in hand. This project examines the impact of a citizen's geographic and social origins on his chances of making it into the wealthiest one percent of Athenians. In this preliminary report, I will discuss our key assumptions, some methodological problems, and present a provisional conclusions.

The Search for Reconciliation: The Politics of National Museums

Date: 12:30

Time: 12.30 am

Venue: The Todd Foundation Room, Museum of City and Sea

National Services Te Paerangi, in partnership with Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University of Wellington; Museum Studies, Massey University, Museums Aotearoa; ICOM NZ and Museum of Wellington City & Sea, is pleased to support this opportunity for museums, art galleries , and heritage and iwi organisations to engage with Simon Knell.

In a Europe committed to the free movement of workers, millions of Euros have been spend searching for a common European identity that might form the basis of greater social cohesion and the acceptance of a common purpose. As part of this search, it has been suggested that national museums might play a role in contributing to Europe-wide social cohesion. But how can they do so?

Europe is a continent scarred by conflict, empires, territorial dispossession and genocide. National museums developed along nationalistic lines and remain instruments of division. By building upon a common ground of inward migration, Te Papa and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore offer rare examples of the museum as an instrument of reconciliation. In Australia, a profound understanding of the destruction and dispossession of a sophisticated Indigenous culture is present in every museum regardless of its size or level of professionalism. Perhaps there needs to be a migration of ideas northwards?

The Search for Reconcilation: The Politics of National Museums PDF Icon 92KB


Sibyllam Project

Date: 28 October – 11 November 2013

Time: 8.36 am

NaplesNine students, including two Museum and Heritage Studies students, travelled to Naples in October 2013 and took part in the Sibyllam Project.

This project focussed on stabilizing and monitoring the state of condition of collections located in the Italian territory, such as the Museums of Capodimonte, Monastery of S.Martino, and Villa Pignatelli, which are all located in the city of Naples. These important collections include a wide range of artistic mediums and styles covering at least 600 years of Italian history. The purpose was to give them the opportunity to utilise preventive conservation activities undertaken by Carolina Izzo and to train and develop skills for, and to provide them with opportunities to engage with international organizations.

Jeff Tatum

Date: 12 September 2013

Time: 6.00 pm

The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation in cooperation with the School of Art History, Classics, and Religious Studies and the Wellington Classical Association invite you to attend a lecture by Professor Jeff Tatum:

Lost in Translation: Plutarch - and me

followed by the launch of

Plutarch: The Rise of Rome (Penguin)


Jeff Tatum Book Launch

Pub Quiz Night - Wellington Classical Association

Date: 5 September 2013

Time: 5.30 pm

The Wellington Classical Association in association with the Classics Department invite you to attend Riddles of the Sphinx: The Classical Association Quiz. 

5.30pm onwards at Milk and Honey (Rankin Brown building, ground floor, below the library)

This is the pub quiz to end all pub quizzes!


Enrol now for Art History, Classics and Religious Studies summer courses

Date: 4 September – 17 November 2013

Time: 10.41 am

Five week summer courses  
These courses will run from 18 November to 22 December  2013

arth imAGEreli imageclass image

ARTH 113, RELI 110, CLAS 213/313

ARTH 113 Thinking through art
10 – 11.50am, Tuesday & Thursday
Hunter LT323

RELI 110 Myth and Ritual
17:30 – 19:20, Wednesday & Thursday
Maclaurin LT101

CLAS 213/313 Troy and the Trojan War
12 -13.50, Monday & Wednesday
Hunter LT323

The following course runs from 6 January until 16 February  2014

RELI 331 Religion, Conflict and Peacemaking
6th January – 16th February
17:30 – 19:20 Mondays and Tuesday
Hunter LT220

Public Lecture by Professor Harriet Flower

Date: 23 July 2013

Time: 8.00 pm

presents a lecture by Prof. Harriet Flower:


Tuesday, July 23rd, at eight p.m. in Hugh Mackenzie Lecture
Theatre 105

Harriet is Professor of Classics and Master of Mathey College at
Princeton University. She is the author of Ancestor Masks and
Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture
(1996), The Art of Forgetting:
Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Culture (2006), and Roman Republics (2010) - as well as numerous papers and chapters.


Enrol now for Trimester 2 courses

Date: 12 June – 18 July 2013

Time: 10.58 am

You can enrol now for Trimester 2 courses in Art History, Classics and Religious Studies.  See our range of courses below:

PDF Icon  Religious Studies (124 KB)

PDF Icon  Art History (338 KB)

PDF Icon Classics  (167 KB)



Art History and Visual Culture Lecture Series 2013 - Yvonne Scott

Date: 30 April 2013

Time: 6.10 pm

Yvonne Scott

Associate Professor
Dept of Art History and Architecture Trinity College Dublin

Home and Away: Fixity and Dislocation in Landscape Art in Ireland

A defining concept of Irish identity has related to the binaries of home and of migration – of the contrary experiences of fixity and of dislocation – and the relationship with the landscape in post-colonial Ireland. The paper considers shifting perceptions, from the vision of Irishness in the early decades of independence and isolationism, to more recent revisions in the context of a contemporary, globalised society and of the parallel migratory reversals and returns.  The lecture hopes to open an on-going discussion on comparative visual agendas in art and identity in Ireland and New Zealand, including the diasporic connections between them.

Tuesday 30th April, 6.10 – 7.30pm
Venue: Murphy Lecture Theatre MY LT101
 Level 1 Murphy Building
 Kelburn Parade

Seminars and Talks Trimester 1 2013

Date: 4 March - 7 June 1 - 5pm

Time: 1.00 pm

Art History, Classics and Religious Studies held seminars and talks at various times throughout trimester 1.   For more information see below:

Museum and Heritage Studies Information Day

Date: 21 November 2012

Time: 9.00 am

An information day for prospective 2013 Museum and Heritage Studies students will be held from 9am - 1pm on Wednesday 21 November.

Venue: Te Kawa a Māui Seminar Room, Māori Studies,
48 Kelburn Parade


For further information ring Pippa Wisheart 463 5800 or Annie Mercer 463 5807

Gordon H. Brown Lecture 2012

Date: 15 November 2012

Time: 5.30 pm


Ross Gibson

Professor of Contemporary Arts at the University of Sydney

will deliver the eleventh
Gordon H. Brown Lecture

‛Oceans in Mind, Art Histories in Flux’

Beginning with an examination of the encounters of European voyagers with the South Pacific in the eighteenth century, this lecture asks how histories of Oceanic intelligence might now be legitimately used by artists and others to better understand our contemporary world.

Tupaia, Chart of the Pacific, 1769

Thursday 15th November, 2012, 5.30pm

City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square

(followed by refreshments)

Admission free

Numbers are limited – to secure your seat please email: with Gordon H Brown in the subject line

enquiries:  Pippa Wisheart    phone:  04 463 5800

Hosted by Art History, Victoria University of Wellington
in partnership with City Gallery Wellington


Public Lecture by Dr Tony Bennett

Date: 4 November 2012

Time: 7.00 pm

 ‘Rethinking the museum:
From exhibitionary complex to cultural assemblage’

by Dr Tony Bennett

Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory
Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney

7pm Sunday 4 November 2012
at Soundings Theatre, Te Papa


Prof Bennett is a distinguished scholar working in a number of fields across the social sciences and humanities, and has made significant contributions to cultural sociology, cultural studies, policy studies, and museum studies. His previous positions included a period as Professor of Sociology at the Open University in the UK where he was also a Director of the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change. He is well known for his work on the history and theory of museums, including The birth of the museum (1995), and Pasts beyond memory (2004), and has recently co-edited two influential collections which chart exciting new directions: Material Powers: Cultural Studies, History and the Material Turn (2010) and Assembling culture (2011). In this lecture Prof Bennett will review his work on museums over a twenty year period, from his early studies drawing on the work of Gramsci, Foucault and Bourdieu to recent projects where he has used the ideas of Gilles Deleuze and Bruno Latour. This event is held in association with the seminar Reassembling the material, which brings together local and international scholars to examine the relations between museums, fieldwork anthropology and indigenous agency.

Presented by

 The Museum & Heritage Studies programme, with CONTACT Art History Research Cluster, Victoria University of Wellington & The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


MHST & Te Papa Tongarewa Seminar

Date: 21 May 2012

Time: 5.00 pm

Museum & Heritage Studies,

Victoria University of Wellington

& Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

present the third seminar for 2012 in a monthly series called

Thinking through museums: New research in museum history, theory and practice

Museum Leadership in Practice

Speaker: David Luoni

What can museum professionals and the wider sector do to enhance leadership capacity? Indeed what are the key elements of museum leadership? These questions underpin David Luoni’s recent Master’s research. David’s dissertation reviewed contemporary leadership theory and applied it to the career of Jim Geddes, a Gore based museum director. In 2008 Geddes won Museums Aotearoa‘s inaugural Individual Achievement Award for putting Gore on the national cultural map. This seminar will consider successful museum leadership via this case study and present recommendations for museum leadership development.

Venue: Hinetitama, Te Papa

When : Monday 21 May, 5-6pm

Free entry

Lecture by Dr. Ulrich Gäbler: John Calvin - the making of a reformer

Date: 15 March 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: 106 Kirk Building, Kelburn Campus


Dr. Ulrich Gäbler

Professor Emeritus of Church History, University of Basel

The talk focuses on the interaction of the external circumstances of John Calvin's life (e.g., persecution, exile, and homelessness) and how this shaped his theological thinking in terms of church discipline, predestination, and the relationship of church and state). By taking into account Calvin's social and political context, one is able to understand Calvin's enterprise much more clearly.

Dr. Ulrich Gabler has published about fifteen books and 100 articles on subjects from the Middle Ages to the present, especially in the fields of Reformation, Pietism, Revivalism and Evangelicalism.


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Peace Conference 2015

Date: 18–20 November 2015

Time: 9.00 am

Venue: St John’s in the City, Presbyterian Church, cnr Willis and Dixon Sts, Wellington.

The Peace  Conference  2015 will provide a forum for critical reflection on Christian contributions to peace and peacemaking in New Zealand. It will provide an opportunity to evaluate Christian contributions historically, and to think theologically about the relationship of peace to Christianity. The conference aims to stimulate thinking about the character and significance of peace in the life and vision of New Zealand churches.

The conference will be hosted by Victoria University of Wellington.






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Public Lectures

2015 Gordon H. Brown Lecture

Date: 12 November 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: City Gallery Wellington

The Gordon H. Brown Lecture 2015

Unsettling: Art and the New Zealand Wars

Rebecca Rice
Curator Historical New Zealand Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


GHB image 2015

This lecture revisits institutional practices of collecting and exhibiting, past and present, to reflect upon the histories of remembering and forgetting embodied
by art from the time of the New Zealand Wars.

Thursday 12 November, 6pm
City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square

Admission free
Booking not required

enquiries:  Pippa Wisheart    phone:  04 463 5800

Hosted by Art History,
Victoria University of Wellington
in partnership with
City Gallery Wellington



Michael Volkerling Memorial Lecture

Date: 23 September 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Soundings Theatre, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Professor Richard Sandell from the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester will give the inaugural Michael Volkerling memorial lecture  PDF Icon  (687KB) on Wednesday 23rd September. This lecture is also the Keynote lecture for the Federation of International Human Rights Museums Conference 2015 (FIHRM) which will be held at the  Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from the 22nd to 24th September 2015. This public event will be followed by a reception.

Why museums matter: activism, politics and protest PDF Icon (133KB)

Professor SandallThe past 20 years have seen a marked shift in the thinking and practices of museums. A growing number of institutions have given increasing attention to appealing to diverse audiences, connecting with previously excluded communities and engaging visitors in debates relating to pressing human rights and environmental concerns. Others are increasingly looking to foster relationships with their publics built on participation and reciprocity. Despite this significant shift, inequalities persist and practice is highly uneven. Some audiences remain poorly served and see little relevance in museums to their lives.  Many museums are still squeamish about tackling controversial topics that some of their publics are anxious to see debated in the public sphere. 

This presentation looks at examples of protests, related to environmental and social justice concerns, staged in museums by groups that have sought to challenge this situation. Here we see a public that does doesn’t wait for an invitation from the museum to engage but rather demands a museum that is transparent, accountable and in the service of society. I move on to look at the ways in which some museums are seeking to respond to this shifting field, in particular the emergence in recent years of an 'activist practice' (Sandell and Dodd 2010) in museum work where activities are explicitly and purposefully directed towards fostering a more equitable, fair and sustainable society. Reflecting on these trends and examples, this presentation explores why and how museums matter and the potential they hold to make a difference to the societies in which they are situated.
Please rsvp to: putting 'Sandall' in the subject line. 

2015 Lectures in Art History and Visual Culture

Date: 6 August 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Murphy Lecture Theatre MY LT101, Kelburn Pde, Kelburn Campus

Dr Donato Esposito

Independent Scholar, London

The Artist as Collector: Sir Joshua Reynolds and his Art Collection

Eighteenth-century London provided a lively and competitive atmosphere in which Reynolds was able to distinguish himself as a foremost collector. His collection lay at the heart of his wider practice, and the study of the art he once owned would furnish important understandings of the position of the art of the past in eighteenth century Britain (and beyond) and the role of the formation of collections in general at the time.

Dr Donato Esposito is an independent scholar based in London with scholarly interests in eighteenth and nineteenth-century collecting and taste, and particularly the art collection of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He has been an Andrew Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, and Curator at the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, London. He is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute and holds a PhD from the University of Plymouth.

Thursday, 6 August, 6.00 - 7.30pm

Murphy Lecture Theatre MY LT101
Level 1 Murphy Building
Kelburn Parade

Art History Programme, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


Religious Conflict and the Evolved Human Brain

Date: 8 June 2015

Time: 12.00 pm

Venue: KP14 101

Wesley J. Wildman, Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics and Convener of the doctoral program in Religion & Science, Boston University.

There’s a reason the ideological spectrum in politics and religion exists: societies are more robust and more flexible when left-right conflict and monitoring are in place. The right optimizes precious energy through the preservation of achieved forms of social complexity, while the left optimizes human well-being through criticizing harmful consequences of institutional forms. And the moderate majority sees value on both sides and retains the power to push on whichever side needs support in a given setting. The neurobiology underlying political and religious ideology is fascinating, and helps to craft more accurate measures of political and religious ideology. Knowing all of this yields an understanding-based empathy, which is a low-cost path to mutual respect and a complex kind of ideological harmony.
Wesley J. Wildman is founding director of the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion (, a large and active research organization focused on the scientific study of religion employing both biological and cultural techniques.

Gordon H. Brown Lecture 2014

Date: 10 December 2014

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square

A Critique of the Natural Artefact
anthropology, art and museology

Nicholas Thomas

Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, U.K.


GHB 2014

Wednesday 10 December, 2014, 6pm
City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square

(followed by refreshments)
Admission free
Numbers are limited – to secure your seat please email: with Gordon H Brown in the subject line
enquiries:  Pippa Wisheart    phone:  04 463 5800

Hosted by Art History, Victoria University of Wellington in partnership with City Gallery Wellington






Image: Four figures and a quadruped, wood, attributed to the Austral Islands.  Collected in 1769, during the first voyage of Captain James Cook. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge

2014 Syme Memorial Lecture

Date: 8 October 2014

Time: 6.00 pm

The 2014 Syme Lecture, "Cynthia's Bones: Authorship and Personhood in Classical Rome", will be given by Professor Thomas N. Habinek, Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California.
In this lecture, Professor Habinek reconsiders assumptions about what constitutes a "person" in Roman culture by looking more closely at what constitutes an "author."  He integrates Roman material into recent anthropological and archaeological discussions of the varieties of personhood found in different cultural contexts, while also making specific points about the diverse types of authorship in Roman antiquity.

Venue for the lecture: Maclaurin LT101

For information on recent lectures, see the Syme Lectures page.

What if Cyclops was Alive and Well and Living in a Cave in Invercargill? by Professor Witi Ihimaera

Date: 4 September – 4 November 2014

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Hunter Council Chamber, Kelburn Campus

Professor Ihimaera will discuss the place of Greco-Roman antiquity in his work. All are welcome (no RSVP is necessary); refreshments will follow.

Professor Ihimaera’s talk is the public keynote lecture of the upcoming conference Athens to Aotearoa: Greece and Rome in New Zealand Literature and Society at the Old Government Buildings, Friday 5–Saturday 6 September. Registration (which is required for attendance at the conference proper) is still open here and includes morning and afternoon tea on both days, and a concluding reception for those there on the final day, Saturday 6 September.

Athens to Aotearoa is the first ever conference devoted to classical influences in New Zealand. In addition to critics and historians unpacking New Zealand’s classical inheritance, this conference will also feature writers and artists discussing their personal and creative engagement with the Greco-Roman classics. The full conference programme is available here.PDF(69.5KB)



Public Lecture: St John's Visiting Scholar in Religion

Date: 18 August 2014

Time: 7.00 pm

Venue: MacLaurin Lecture Theatre MCLT103, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn Campus, Wellington

Professor Richard Bauckham 'The Evidence for Jesus: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony'

In August, Victoria University of Wellington and St John's in the City will host the St John's Visiting Scholar in Religion for 2014, Professor Richard Bauckham, Emeritus Professor of the Universities of St Andrews and Cambridge. As part of this visit, Professor Bauckham will deliver a public lecture on Monday 18 August, addressing the topic: 'The Evidence for Jesus: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.' 
Richard BauckhamProfessor Bauckham is widely recognised as one of the world's leading New Testament scholars. He taught theology for many years at the University of Manchester and then at the University of St Andrews where he was the Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor. He is now based at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. A prolific writer, he has written over 20 books and 200 articles, including many influential and groundbreaking volumes. These writings include biblical commentaries, studies of New Testament history and theology, works of historical theology, and other studies on topics such as Christology and ecology.

The theme of Professor Bauckham's public lecture draws from one of his best-known works – his award-winning Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2006). This landmark publication draws on textual and historical evidence, as well as developments in the study of oral tradition and the psychology of memory, to argue that the Gospels are based in the eyewitness testimony of those who knew Jesus personally. The argument has major implications for understanding of the character of the Gospels, but also of early Christianity more generally.

Lost in Translation: Plutarch - and me

Date: 12 September 2013

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Hunter Council Chamber, Hunter Building, Kelburn Parade

The New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation in cooperation with the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies and the Wellington Classical Association invite you to attend a lecture by Professor Jeff Tatum.

Followed by the launch of Plutarch – The Rise of Rome (Penguin), new or revised translations of  Plutarch’s Lives of the earliest Romans down to the second century BC and of the ‘last of the Greeks’, Aratus and Philpoemen.

The book will be formally launched by Matthew Trundle, Professor of Classics at the University of Auckland. Light refreshments will follow.
RSVP to by Thursday, September 5.

For further info on the NZCLT please visit our website:

About Jeff Tatum

Jeff Tatum is a professor of Classics at Victoria University. He is the author of The Patrician Tribune: Publius Clodius Pulcher (1999), Always I am Caesar (2008), and A Caesar Reader (2012), as well as numerous chapters and papers on Roman history, Latin literature, and Plutarch and imperial Greek literature. Before coming to Victoria he was Olivia Nelson Dorman Professor of Classics at The Florida State University and Professor of Ancient History at the University of Sydney.

Professor Jeff Tatum Inaugural Lecture

Date: 20 March 2012

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2


Jeff Tatum 


Being Greek under Rome: Plutarch and Greco-Roman Biculturalism

Plutarch, the most important Greek writer of imperial Rome, was an influential Roman citizen, a distinguished advocate of Hellenic values, and a penetrating observer of political realities. It was also from Plutarch that Shakespeare took the plots of his Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and Timon of Athens. His career raises profound questions about what it meant to be Greek in Greco-Roman society. Was it practically possible for both cultures to thrive, even to compete with one another, without the blights of chauvinism, assimilation, or provocative cultural resistance? These issues, relevant to any multicultural society, constitute the focus of this lecture.

Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

RSVP by Friday 16th March. Phone: 04 472 1000

or email: with 'Tatum' in the subject line.

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Curatopia: Histories, Theories, Practices - Museums and the Future of Curatorship

Date: 6 July 2015

Time: 9.00 am

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
(LMU) Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich
Conveners: Dr. Philipp Schorch, A/Prof. Conal McCarthy and Prof. Eveline Dürr

This seminar brings together curators, critics and scholars from a range of fields in Europe, the UK, US and the Pacific to debate issues to do with museums and the future of curatorship, especially the insights that can be gained from indigenous perspectives.

As museums continue to change in the twenty first century, what James Clifford called the ‘figure of the curator’ appears to be in flux. What is the future of curatorial practice? What historical and contemporary models exist for curating, in art, history, anthropology and other areas? Is there a vision for an ideal model, a Curatopia, whether in the form of a utopia or dystopia? How can indigenous museologies inflect aspects of curatorial theory and practice? This symposium facilitates intense thinking through ‘the figure of the curator’ and will be open to museum professionals, other academics and students.

Seminar poster

See here for more information:

FHSS Learning and Teaching Seminar Series: Michael Radich

Date: 4 August 2014

Time: 12.15 pm

Venue: Murphy LT220

Dr Michael Radich, Religious Studies Programme, SACR, will present a seminar on "How I use arguments in teaching".

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Symposium on International museum exhibitions and intercultural dialogue

Date: 2 February 2016

Time: 8.00 am

Save the date: February 2, 2016

The Museum and Heritage Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, invites you to participate in a one-day symposium on:

International museum exhibitions and intercultural dialogue

This event brings together academics, museum professionals, cultural policy experts and other stakeholders to discuss the links between museums, exhibition exchange and intercultural dialogue.

Participants can expect to:

  • hear about and discuss findings from the first major transnational studies of international touring exhibitions, focused on the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa exhibitions – E Tū Ake: Standing Strong (France, Mexico, Canada) and Aztecs: Conquest and Glory (New Zealand and Australia in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico, and in partnership with Melbourne Museum and Australian Museum) – which formed the basis of the first ever exhibition exchange between Mexico and Australasia
  • participate in discussions about the role of museums in fostering intercultural dialogue through exhibitions and exchange, and consider the wider issues of museums and cultural diplomacy
  • contribute ideas for future initiatives aimed at enhancing these interconnections.

Presenters will include:

  • Dr Lee Davidson, Senior Lecturer, Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Leticia Pérez, professor and Coordinator of the Post Graduate Studies Program in Museology at the Escuela Nacional de Conservacion, Restauracion y Museografia del Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) in Mexico
  • Dr Simon Mark, Massey University

Please circulate to colleagues and register your interest in attending by emailing, before December 1 if possible.

Further information will be circulated soon. Read more about the touring exhibition research project or email

CALL FOR PAPERS Sharia in the Asia-Pacific: Islam, Law and Politics - closing date

Date: 19 June 2015

Time: 8.25 pm

Register here for attending and/or presenting

Symposium dates 25 - 27 August, 2015

The word ‘Sharia’ has had, and continues to have, a range of meanings, resonances and usages in different places and at different times. At its broadest, it points to an all-encompassing way of life, while narrower conceptions are limited to aspects of family law and religious practice. In the Asia-Pacific region, different colonial histories and the varied role Islam has played in nation-building have resulted in complex and nuanced legal models.
The Asia-Pacific offers a practical arena in which to investigate Sharia as it operates in a number of provinces and states, and as it is being progressively introduced in Brunei Darussalam. Sharia increasingly features in the political, religious and academic discourse of the region, ranging from calls for enhanced Islamic identities to practical arrangements for Sharia compliant financial products and services.

The Religious Studies Programme symposium aims to bring together leading scholars from the region and beyond to explore questions on Sharia in the Asia Pacific. We especially (but not exclusively) welcome papers that address the following themes:
- The future of Sharia in Muslim-majority, Muslim-minority, and secular states
- The definitions of Sharia (commercial, family, and criminal law) and contemporary   implementation and applications in the Asia-Pacific
-  The role of Sharia in dynamically changing identities, collective and individual
-  Sharia and minorities and gender equity
-  Sharia and the distinction between private and public law
-  Religion, legal pluralism and the nation state
We aim to publish selected papers focussing on regional case studies and comparative analyses.
Please send an abstract (maximum 250 words) with your personal details (name, institution, phone number and email address) to The deadline for abstracts is15 June 2015.
We look forward to welcoming you at Victoria University of Wellington.


Best wishes,
Organising team


Indigenous Modernisms Histories of the Contemporary

Date: 11–12 December 2014

Time: 9.00 am

A two-day symposium bringing together an international group of scholars, curators and artists to address the question of the relationship between the histories of Indigenous modernisms in New Zealand, Australia, North America, Africa and the Pacific, and the artistic conditions of our own era.

Matchitt image

Paratene Matchitt, Te Kooti Wahawaha, 1967. PVA on hardboard, tryptich. Collection of the artist. Photograph: Marty Dick.


  • Bill Anthes, Pitzer College, Claremont University, USA
  • Geoffrey Batchen, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
  • Christina Barton, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
  • Richard Bell, artist, Australia
  • Peter Brunt, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
  • Shane Cotton, artist, NZ
  • Katharina Greven, University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • Elizabeth Harney, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Heather Igloliorte, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
  • Sandra Klopper, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Ngahiraka Mason, Auckland Art Gallery, NZ
  • Paratene Matchitt, artist, NZ
  • Ian McLean, University of Woollongong, Australia
  • Josh Milani, Milani Gallery, Australia
  • Anitra Nettleton, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Chika Okeke-Agulu, Princeton University, USA
  • Ruth Phillips, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • William Jackson Rushing III, University of Oklahoma, USA
  • Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Lara Strongman, Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch, NZ
  • Megan Tamati-Quennell, Te Papa, NZ
  • Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Nina Tonga, Te Papa, NZ
  • Norman Vorano, Queens University, Canada
  • Anna-Marie White, Suter Gallery, Nelson, NZ

When: 11–12 Dec 2014, 9am–5.30pm
Where: Soundings Theatre, Level 2, Te Papa Tongarewa
Cost: $50 Adult, $40 Concession

Register online

Programme available here


The symposium is a collaboration between the Art History Programme, Victoria University of Wellington, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the 'Multiple Modernisms: 20th Century Modernisms in Global Perspective' research project.

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Theatre Productions

VATS presents Sophocles' Antigone

Date: 16–18 October 2014

Time: 7.30 pm

Venue: 77 Fairlie Tce, Kelburn

Formed this year, Victoria Ancient Theatre Society (VATS) is a student driven group with the goal of producing an annual classical play. For our inaugural production we are proud to present Sophocles' famed tragedy Antigone, featuring a new translation from the Greek by Victoria's own Dr Simon Perris, directed by Theatre student Jess Old, and performed by a cast of current students.

What would you risk for your family?

In the aftermath of a bloody civil war, with both brothers dead, Antigone must fight her uncle's law to protect her family's honour. The ties of blood and politics clash in this modern retelling, with devastating consequences.

Performed in the 77 Fairlie Tce Theatre, this is a must see for lovers of drama and classics alike. 

Performances: 16th, 17th and 18th of October.

Venue: 77 Fairlie Tce, Kelburn

Start Time: 7.30pm

Tickets: $8 Waged, $5 Unwaged, 

Ticket bookings:

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