Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Lydia Wevers Seminar Series

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies is hosting a series of events to honour the legacy and work of Emerita Professor Lydia Wevers. 

The seminar series begins on Wednesday 27 April and runs every Wednesday evening until 8 June.

“Lydia is remembered as an academic mentor, an astute and acute ally, an avid gardener, a passionate walker, and a generous host. And above all, as a reader in the fullest sense of the word,” says Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich from the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Te Herenga Waka, who has helped to programme the series.

The series aims to explore how we read here in Aotearoa New Zealand. “While we often imagine reading as a solitary activity, many of us read as Lydia Wevers read: surrounded by family, community, and culture,” says Professor Bönisch-Brednich. 

“‘Reading’ New Zealand through the lens of writers, columnists, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and academic colleagues will help us explore our understanding of our country through the lens of reading and writing.”

The variety of speakers shows the impact Professor Wevers had on those she knew and worked with during her rich life. “Professor Wevers’ contribution to both academic life here at the university and the lives of her friends and readers was immense. I am very much looking forward to us coming together to celebrate her legacy and life in this way,” says Professor Sarah Leggott, Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Education. 

The events in the series are listed below. Follow the links for further information about each seminar:

27 April—The Infrastructure of reading 
Chair: Chief Librarian Chris Szekely from the Alexander Turnbull Library. Panel: Juliet Blyth from Read NZ, Annette Beattie from the Wairarapa library service, and David Hedley from Hedley’s Books in Masterton.

4 May—Cultures of reading 
Chair: Associate Professor Nikki Hessel from the English programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Panel: Professor Ingrid Horrocks from Massey University and Dr Tina Makereti from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

11 May—Writing and reading for/in public
Chair: Anna Fifield, editor of the Dominion Post. Panel: Robert Kelly from Radio NZ and TVNZ, journalist Rebecca Macfie, and Professor Marc Wilson from the Psychology programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

18 May—Women ‘readings’ of Aotearoa New Zealand
Chair: Writer and publisher Kate De Goldi. Panel: Emeritus Professor Harry Ricketts, writer Linda Burgess, and Te Herenga Waka’s Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich from the School of Social and Cultural Studies.

25 May—Reading the short story 
Chair: Dr Dougal McNeill from the English programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Panel: publisher Fergus Barrowman from Te Herenga Waka University Press, Professor Jane Stafford from the English programme, and poet Khadro Mohamed. NB: This event is 5 pm–6.30 pm.

1 June—Being Pākehā
Chair: Dr Amanda Thomas from the Environmental Studies programme at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Panel: Associate Professor Maria Bargh from Te Kawa a Māui and Dr Sara Salman from the Institute of Criminology.

8 June—Honouring Lydia Wevers’ legacy 
Chair: Professor Rawinia Higgins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Panel: Professor and author Witi Ihimaera, Te Herenga Waka’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Jennifer Windsor, Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Sarah Leggott, Professor Simon Keller from the Philosophy programme, and Professor David O’Donnell from the Theatre programme.

Each afternoon will start with a short reflection on Lydia Wevers’ reading of the chosen theme, before the panellists take this theme in new directions.

All seminars except that on 25 May run from 4.30–5.30 pm, and will be held at room 103, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre, Kelburn campus, Wellington.

Register to attend any of these events, online or in-person, using this link

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