Creating change with Ataria Sharman at Ramp Festival

Whangārei writer Ataria Sharman is bringing her industry insights to Ramp Festival 2021


Whangārei writer Ataria Sharman is bringing her industry insights as one of Ramp Festival’s guest speakers, on August 6, at Wintec City campus in Hamilton.

This year, the speakers will be discussing how artists and practitioners have changed their way of thinking and doing to create more regenerative and sustainable practises, in light of the global pandemic.

“In the arts sector, the most important resources are our creatives,” says Ataria Sharman, Editor of The Pantograph Punch, on the shift of priorities for artists.

“When creatives are thriving, we have more energy to make things.”

Sharman was introduced to regenerative themes such as mātauranga Māori while completing her bachelor’s, honour’s and master’s in Māori Studies at Victoria University.

“Although my dad is Māori, I didn’t necessarily grow up with things like mātauranga Māori embedded in my life,” says Sharman, who attributes much of her learning to the campus marae, Te Herenga Waka Marae.

“To me, mātauranga Māori is about always looking to help others, no matter what stage you are at.”

In 2018, Sharman started the social enterprise Awa Wahine, after realising there was a lack of space for wahine Māori to publish their work. Awa Wahine provides a platform to tautoko (support) wahine Māori in their various mediums of creativity and entrepreneurship.

“Talking about making money in the arts can be seen as taboo. I don’t know if it's a hangover of the starving artist archetype or the expectation that creatives work for free or low pay,” says Sharman, who is a firm supporter of entrepreneurship in the arts.

“I’m a fan of the anti-starving artist, in fact I’d really prefer not to starve myself

“It’s about creatives being able to find ways to do what they love and still pay the bills.”

Sharman emphasises the importance of investing in the health and wellbeing of creatives, “not burn them out or underpay them,” and for creatives themselves to build a community of like-minded individuals.

Sharman’s kaupapa and work speaks directly to the themes of Ramp Festival 2021 which are regenerative thinking, circular design and mātauranga Māori. Sharman is excited to meet fellow creatives and exchange meaningful kōrero over the three-day event.

“It’s so important for creatives to connect, not end up being siloed,” says Sharman.

“The more we engage, the more potential we have to learn.”

Ramp Festival will take place on Wintec City campus from 4 - 6 August, and the full programme is available to view. The event is free and members of the creative community are invited to attend by registering via Eventbrite.

You can catch Ataria Sharman’s talk on Friday 6 August at 9.30am, in Events Room 1, Gallagher Hub, Wintec City campus.

This interview was written by Wintec third year Communication student Maddy Morris.

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