Thursday 7 July 2022

Link roundup

A quick reocmmendation to kick things off - Maureen Lander has started digitising and sharing her archive on Instagram - follow maureenlanderarchive for so much wonderful goodness

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Learning to Minister, and a crucial skillIn this RNZ story Phil Smith interviews Kieran McAnulty about the rapid shift from backbench MP to Minister: 

You might imagine incoming ministers get lots of warning, to study and gird their loins. They don’t. 

If that had been the case Kieran McAnulty wouldn’t have chosen that week to move house. 

 Kieran McAnulty is now minister for Emergency Management, for Racing, the Deputy Leader of the House and Associate Minister of both Local Government and Transport. Associate Ministers generally get specific roles inside the wider portfolio. 

That’s like taking on five new jobs at once. But it’s more than that, it’s a change from effectively working for Parliament to working for the Government. 

As Smith analyses it, one of the major differences is the new expectations of Question Time in Parliament, where the Minister is judged not only on content, but performance and delivery: 

 A minister might be brilliant at policy development, at management, delegating and overseeing multiple projects and multiple departments, and at getting money approved …but public perception will determine they are failing if they get monstered at Question Time. 

 It’s a strange way to mark success because Question Time’s interactions aren’t particularly ‘real’. Instead Question Time is a kind of theatre and doing it well involves a degree of performance, but not all MPs are naturals at that. 

Smith follows this up with an interview with Chris Hipkins on how to survive question time.

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From my friend and Tāwhiri / Aotearoa NZ Arts Festival CE Meg Williams, Sober reality - on three years of not drinking. Shared partly for Meg's insight and generosity, but also because it refers to one of my pet topics, the DOPE bird personality test.

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Athol McCredie and Jane Harris at work did a beautiful job of pulling together a full tribute to Luit Bieringa for the Te Papa blog. Scroll all the way through for the final pic of Luit and John McCormack back in the day in shorts with icecreams. 

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There's a strong tendency with arts (and other) organisations to focus on CEs and senior leadership, and not the boards that put them in place. This Sydney Morning Herald article about Australia's incoming arts minister Tony Burke is fascinating because he sheets home responsibility to the previous administration for "lazy and indulgent" appointments. 

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Shared by Nicola Gaston on Twitter - an interview with James Poskett, author of Horizons: A global history of science. Poskett notes the tendency to tell the history of science as a series of breakthroughs by (largely) white Western males, and dismiss the continued histories of science in other cultures:

We’re at a kind of crossroads in history, but also in science. And the narratives that scientists were taught and told themselves in the West was a narrative that was built for the Cold War. But the Cold War’s over — the original one. Yet we’re still telling these narratives about Western science, science being neutral. And I think a lot of public mistrust in the sciences generally is actually a function of this — that we need to present publicly a more realistic, political, diverse account of how science is done – how we got to now — in order to have the consent and engagement of the mass public in the sciences.

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Also on science, also quite possibly shared by Nicola - a long and fascinating and quite worrying (in that oh-shit-there-goes-another-set-of-assumptions-I-was-comfy-with) Guardian article by Stephen Buranyi, Do we need a new theory of evolution?

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