Category Archives: Staff stories

Maurice Askew (1921-2020)

10th March 2020

By the time Maurice came to New Zealand to teach Design at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1962, he had already amassed a lifetime of adventures and a long legacy of ground-breaking creative work.

As an RAF flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers during World War Two, he was shot down over Germany in 1944. Parachuting into a field of snow, he spent the next year and a half marching from one Prisoner of War camp to another. With his wry sense of humour, he once told me that he “…had seen enough of Germany… I don’t feel the need to go back again.”

After the war he had the opportunity, like so many demobbed soldiers, to retrain rather than go back to the old Anglepoise lamp factory that he worked in before his enlistment. He now had the chance to go to art school and follow his love for design and drawing. Subsequently, in the early 1950’s, he was employed by the fledgling Granada Television Studios where he created award-winning animations and amongst other things, was the set designer for the iconic Coronation Street television series.

Teaching was one of Maurice’s passions throughout his life and, in the early sixties, along with Doris his wife and a young family, he embarked on yet another challenge to sail to the other side of the world, to the University of Canterbury and to make Christchurch his new home.

His influence on the shift of design thinking in New Zealand in the 1960’s has been highly underrated but can be seen most strikingly in a series of decimal currency stamps from 1971 especially if compared to earlier designs. Here, Maurice was part of the winning design team alongside a number of recent graduates. During this time he worked on many other design projects such as the University of Canterbury Centenary and the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch. The 1970’s was also a time when the Court Theatre evolved and part of their success was due to the vibrant theatre sets designed by Maurice.

By 1975 the demand by his students for film-making was so great that a separate Film Studio at Ilam was created. It remains arguably the oldest Film School in the country and I am very proud to say that it is still going strong today. Amongst its early students, it included NZ directors Vincent Ward and Gaylene Preston as well as the famous Australian producer Timothy White.

Maurice retired from UC in early 1981 and started yet another creative chapter in his life illustrating a number of children’s books and developing his distinctive watercolour style as he rendered striking landscapes locally, and from all over the world.

It is during this time that I first met Maurice who was still heavily involved in the Canterbury Film Society that he revitalised in the 1960’s. I will always remember his wonderful sense of humour and his kind, gentle and generous mentoring which stayed with him right until the end.

John Chrisstoffels
Senior Lecturer in Film
School of Fine Arts

Antigua Boatsheds 1990 M.V.Askew

Introducing an amazing UC wahine

Whakanuia te hā o Hineahuone! With International Women’s Day coming up this Rātapu, 8 o Kahuru-kai-paeka | Sunday 8 March, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate wāhine around UC.

One of our hidden heroes at UC, Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kauwhata, Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu) is ‘walking the talk’ as she balances teaching, chasing her PhD, being a super-māmā and her out of hours pursuit: body building.

Annabel is currently working towards her PhD in Health Sciences, investigating the experiences of Māori adopted in the closed adoption system. In between that, she’s busy raising 3 active kids (with 2 now studying at UC), and training hard as an IFBB athlete, where she currently holds the national title in Masters Figure!

Known for her dedication and amazing work ethic, Annabel describes herself as “just a woman doing what lots of other women do – juggling their full-on lifestyle.”

Can we communicate ourselves to a better world?

By Professor Ekant Veer

The University of Florida’s Centre for Public Interest Communications seems to think so and they discussed this at their recent ‘frank’ gathering in Gainesville, Florida. The Centre’s Director, Prof. Ann Christiano, and Director of Programs, Ellen Nodine, visited Christchurch in October of 2019 to work with the city and UC on developing communications programs and practices that would benefit the city after the March 15 terror attacks.

During their short stay both Ann and Ellen gave a public lecture as well as held meetings with members of the UC faculty, students, mana whenua, local city officials, and practitioners all to discuss the role that public interest communications can improve social cohesion and well-being. On the back of this visit I was able to visit Gainesville and take part in the frank gathering as ‘The Curator of the Love Track’ (more on this weird title, later). Gabrielle Huria from Ngāi Tahu was also in attendance to speak on the role that she and her iwi were able to play in bringing people together after the shootings.

The frank gathering aims to bring together an equal proportion of practitioners, activists, academics and funders to all share their own ideas about how communications can improve society. So, while I would normally go to a conference and get excited about sitting next to a prominent professor in my field, here I was sitting next to the person who started the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, then have dinner with a Muslim hip-hop activist, followed the next day having breakfast with a professor from Cambridge, then giving a talk alongside creator of The Daily Show. It was an experience that was completely out of my comfort zone, but showed how important it is for us, as academics, to engage with the full gamut of influencers out there.

The gathering is in its 7th year and this year all the talks were split into different tracks based on an emotion. We heard from people talking about anger, hope, pride, love etc. Each track had a curator that would coach the speakers and tie together each talk together with an opening. This is where I became the ‘Curator of the Love Track’ and was given the privilege to open the set of talks with some experiences of working in Christchurch after the shootings and what the role of love plays in driving action forward. In between all these very inspirational talks were breakout sessions where we were able to put some of the experiences into practice in a more hands-on fashion.

Both Gabrielle and I were there to see what we can do better back in Christchurch and whether a similar gathering could work here. Perhaps a local collective of people from all walks of life sharing their knowledge and experiences about public interest communications and what things we have learnt in our own journeys that others may benefit from. Watch this space as we develop plans in this area.

Many thanks should be extended to Bruce McTaggart and his whānau, whose passion and vision for seeing betterment in our society funded both Prof. Christiano and Dr. Nodine’s visit to Christchurch in 2019 as well as Gabrielle and my visit to frank last week.

Dr Ekant Veer is a professor in marketing in the UC Business School at the University of Canterbury. His area of expertise is in social marketing and social well-being. Follow Ekant on Twitter here>

First published on the UC Business School blog>

ERSKINE PROGRAMME GRANT PROFILE – ANNICK MASSELOT

A
Annick Masselot in Cambridge

What Department/School have you come from and what do you teach?
I come from the School of Law. I teach Employment Law and Advanced Employment Law, Contract Law, Gender and the Law, European Union Law and Legal Research Methods.  I also do some teaching in the Executive Development Programme where I teach Business Law for the MBA and the MBM degrees.

What interested you in the Grant opportunity?
One of my present line of research is concerned with the gender impact of Brexit. People wrongly think that Brexit and, what are considered to be the most relevant issues: Trade and migration, are gender neutral topics.  In reality, the most adversely impacted people are likely to be the least visible people: women and people from minority backgrounds.

The Cambridge Grant provided me with the opportunity to be based and do research in the United Kingdom at a time when political and legal developments around this theme were at their peak. The Grant further offered me the opportunity to be at Cambridge University where I could interact with experts in the field of constitutional and European Union law and political as well as gender studies scholars. As Cambridge is central to the UK, I knew I was also going to be able to do research in London, in particular at the British Parliament. I was also able to work with NGO and think tanks.

Being in the UK also provided a chance for me to disseminate my work in the country and also in other European Countries.

The grant is generous enough that I was able to do research without  worrying about where to live and I could take my family with me, which was a real bonus.

Where did you visit (i.e which institutions)?
I was a recipient of the Cambridge Grant so I spent most of my time at Cambridge University, where I was based in the Centre for European Legal Studies in the Faculty of Law.  During my time at Cambridge, I was also invited to deliver talks in other institutions.

  • ‘Gendertrouble while approaching the cliff edge Brexit?’ Queen’s University Belfast, The Centre for European and Transnational Studies, Belfast, 7 October 2019
  • ‘Jacinda Ardern and the development of a model of feminist foreign policy?’ feminist foreign policy in the EU context, Quaker Council for European Affairs, Brussels, 26 September 2019
  • ‘The gender impact of Brexit – Unpacking the ideology of socio-political institutions’, School of Law, Reading University, 16 October 2019 (with Roberta Guerrina UoBristol).

How will your time overseas benefit your teaching at UC?
The Cambridge Grant is mostly a research grant, as such it does not really consider teaching. However, I was also invited as a guest lecturer in the Jean Monnet Summer School on Gender and Brexit: Processes and Strategies for Gender Mainstreaming in the Process of Exiting the EU, University of Surrey (UK), 3-8 July 2019.

I delivered two lectures to a range of students and practitioners on (1) EU as a Gender Actor from Internal to External Affairs and (2) Gendering External Affairs – How is Trade gendered?

This experience together with the ability to share experience on European Union practices and on Brexit with practitioners provides unique experience which can be translated into vivid lectures at the University of Canterbury. Having first hand expertise in a topic makes us better teacher because we know what is going on on the ground.  

 Do you have any advice for potential future Grant applicants?
Don’t be shy, go forth and meet people outside UC.

 

ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE – TIM ATKINS

Tim Atkins visited us from TriVector Services in the USA.

Tim Atkins with his host and students

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.  I develop avionics requirements, testing, and analyses for key components of NASA’s Artemis Program; and communicate NASA’s vision of space exploration to students in the US and NZ.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
My wife and I regularly visit our daughter, who lives in Christchurch with her husband and young daughter.  When I visited in early 2018, I contacted UC and offered to present information about NASA; Margaret Agnew enlisted me to present at the UC Connect forum then; afterwards, Dr. Chris Hann recommended me for an Erskine Fellowship to support the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering senior-level rocket design course.

What have you been doing at UC?
I lectured 3 hours weekly to an excellent group of young engineering students on rocket design parameters and trade-offs; NASA Systems Engineering approaches; and publicly-available Space Launch System technical information.  I also provided input to the UC Rocketry safety protocols for their launches, and participated in a test launch that served to train students on processes and safety checkpoints for a future Milly launch.  I also investigated future collaborations with some of my US colleagues and others here at UC.  Apart from UC, I communicated NASA’s vision to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Christchurch and Dunedin; I expect many of those students will pursue studies in Math and Science, that many of those will end up at UC, and – who knows? – perhaps some will work at NASA one day.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Time with family.
Beautiful New Zealand Spring weather.
Rugby – the local Canterbury team and the World Cup on TV.
Working with Dr. Hann, his brilliant students, and amazing support staff in the CoE, the UC Communications Office, and Erskine Office.