We Will Work With You
Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998

12 September – 24 October 2014,
ST PAUL St Galleries One and Two

An exhibition initiated by Adam Art Gallery Te Pataka Toi in collaboration with the Wellington Media Collective.


Image: Philip Kelly and Dave Kent, We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 book cover, 2013. From an original one colour off-set print.

Established in 1978, the Wellington Media Collective (WMC) came together under the banner ‘we will work with you – not for you’. The co-operative of graphic designers, printers, photographers and their friends saw sharing their skills in graphic design and communication as a way to give political voice to community groups and individuals across a spectrum of cultural issues and campaigns for social justice. Over two decades they worked with clients ranging from trade unions to arts and activist organisations, with involvement in all the major political movements of the era, including the fight for a nuclear free New Zealand, for tino rangatiratanga, women’s rights, employment issues, and an end to apartheid in South Africa.

This exhibition considers the breadth WMC’s archive – original ephemera spanning posters, print publications, magazines and flyers, as well as oral histories – as offering a unique history of public culture in Wellington and New Zealand. The collected work articulates the intersection of highly politicised design with social activism and a wider cultural history of art and performance. This is set against a background of shifting economic conditions, and the evolution of print technologies, networks of distribution and communication.

ST PAUL St Gallery hosts the second public outing of this exhibition. Developed by the Adam Art Gallery, it was originally shown in Wellington in 2012. This iteration has been approached as an opportunity not only to share the material with a wider audience, but as a platform for a series of public programmes that connect the work of the Collective with the university gallery’s role as “critic and conscience of society”, and current events with a particular focus on the lead up to the national election day on 20 September. All events are free and all are welcome:

WMC t-shirt printing workshop
13 September 12–4pm

Bring and print your own shirt or fabric. Come by the Gallery on Saturday afternoon to screen print alongside members of the Wellington Media Collective. 

RockEnrol: We Will Work With You
18 September 6–9pm

Crowdsourcing ideas for a thriving New Zealand and holding decision makers accountable, this is a special event hosted in collaboration with RockEnrol NZ. Read more and sign up on Facebook.

Floortalk with Chris McBride and Philip Kelly
9 October, 5.30pm

An opportunity to hear from Wellington Media Collective members Chris McBride and Philip Kelly about the history and significance of these works, and the development of the exhibition.

AudioCulture and WMC present:
14 October, 6–9pm

Simon Grigg, Creative Director of the AudioCulture website and Philip Kelly of Wellington Media Collective present an evening of New Zealand music that charts the turbulent times of the WMC's existence, drawing parallels between the output of the Collective and NZ music of the period. This event is part of Art Week http://artweekauckland.co.nz/. 


Then and Now 

23 October, 5:30pm

Members of the Wellington Media Collective are joined by representatives from collectives Local Time, Cut Collective and D.A.N.C.E Art Club for a discussion around the ambitions and mechanics of collaborative activity past and present, and its activist role in making change.

For up to date information on all these events please see the We Will Work With You FaceBook page

The exhibition draws on an archival project undertaken by the Wellington Media Collective in collaboration with the Alexander Turnbull Library and the Department of Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. A book, We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 (2013), coordinated and edited by Ian Wedde with Mark Derby and Jenny Rouse, was co-published by Victoria University Press in conjunction with the Wellington Media Collective to accompany the exhibition. Copies will be available at the Gallery for cash purchase throughout the exhibition.

We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 was shown at Adam Art Gallery Te Pataka Toi in 2012.


Bomber Jacket for Marilyn Waring 
Emma Fitts
FrontBox: 20 November – 19 December 2014

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Emma Fitts, work in progress, 2014.

This work began life as a blog*, set up by the artist (with her collaborator Amelia Bywater, as Victor & Hester) as a place to gather research on three women: Marlow Moss (UK), Rowena Cade (UK) and Marilyn Waring (NZ). Rather than trace and rehearse the already recorded biographies of Moss, Cade and Waring, Fitts was interested to consider the relative lack of information as a starting place for a parallel research project, ultimately making works for, rather than about these women.

The works are made from found silk, pieced together like garment patterns and hung like banners. The bomber jacket, originally designed for pilots flying open cockpit planes, is made for Marilyn Waring, Professor of Public Policy at AUT. At 23, Waring was New Zealand’s youngest MP in 1975. Her book If Women Counted (1988) contributed significantly to the development of feminist economics as an academic discipline, and she has recently published a curriculum on gender and economics for the UN Development Programme.    
The work here takes its cue from Victor & Hester’s ongoing collaboration: a mainly immaterial practice that considers language, sociability and working processes. Live events, an online journal and occasional print publications are adopted as temporary social spaces, and as sites to think through labour, documentation and distribution. 

Fitts is the current Olivia Spencer Bower Resident in Christchurch. This series of fabric works also includes Fishing Vest Pockets for Olivia Spencer Bower, Anorak for Rowena CadeSports Jacket for Marlow Moss is currently at the Physics Room Gallery in Christchurch (25 October – 7 December). A related work, Bomber Jacket for Marilyn Waring: Glossary terms A and C will feature in the December issue of Un magazine



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