Hidden Perspectives in collaboration

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Here at SIIBS we are delighted to be able to celebrate the launch of the University of Auckland’s Hidden Perspectives (HPNZ) project. Launched in March it is the sibling to our own Hidden Perspectives (HPUK), and co-director Jo Henderson-Merrygold went out to Auckland to work with HPNZ project leads Caroline Blyth and Chip Matthews.

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Jo worked with Caroline and Chip in February and March, and got to know some of the students central to this rainbow (LGBT+) equity and inclusion project in the Faculty of Arts. You can find out more about the history and genealogy of the project by reading the whakapapa (which includes a definition for those not familiar with the Māori terminology). There was an amazing turn out at the Pride march in late February, with the university group lead down Ponsonby Road by a Samba band and the University of Auckland cheerleaders. Unlike in the UK, the academic year starts in February rather than September/October so Jo was there, alongside those who have helped grow Hidden Perspectives (NZ) so far. You can meet Lara and Nevin, two of the very committed students on the HPNZ website, and more will appear over the coming weeks. The website itself is a fantastic part of our collaboration: We have Mel and Rachel, our wonderful interns on the MA in English programme, who have put together the site and will gift it to the NZ team in May. What a wonderful job they’ve done, and are continuing to do!                                                           

Once Orientation week started in the last week of February, Hidden Perspectives (NZ) launched a series of events including an informal cinema trip to see Moonlight, as well as joint film nights with the Gender Studies programme, and socials as well as Meet the Researcher and My Queer Research sessions throughout the year. Hidden Perspectives in Auckland was officially launched on 16 March, and was well attended by people from across the faculty, both staff and students. Students wrote their hopes for the project on 'I love Hidden Perspectives because...' cards, which can be seen on the facebook group. Isabella, the Queer Rights Officer from the Auckland University Student Association, offered her greetings and support, and Jo shared her hopes for the project as the start of a much needed project and international collaboration. Jo says, “Chip, Caroline, and the students are doing a fantastic job, and if they can provide even a fraction of the warmth and hospitality they offered me to those who come to find out more about the project I have no doubt Hidden Perspectives will go from strength to strength. It has been such an inspiring project to work on, and I return to the UK inspired to bring some of the insights gained back into the UK project!”

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So, plans are already in development, and keep your eyes open for a Hidden Perspectives event in Sheffield inspired by the NZ project later in the year – and we may even have a guest from our sibling in Auckland to share in it with us. What an exciting event, and massive congratulations to Hidden Perspectives for their successful launch.

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