POSTPONED - Kirikiriroa Conversations

Kirikiriroa Conversations
Date Thursday 7 October 2021
Time 3:10pm - 3:40pm
Where S.1.01
Presenter Dr. Michalia Arathimos
Contact Dr. Kyle Barrett
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Screen and Media Studies (SMST) are proud to present another series of Kirikiriroa Conversations. The aim of these chats is to explore topics of interest from staff and graduate students across the University that may be works-in-progress, recently published papers, or even just something you are passionate about! It is an opportunity to explore avenues of research or practice that may not have found a place in a lecture or publication. Why not discuss it in a friendly, open, informal environment? There are no prescribed formats for presenting as long as each conversation will be 15 mins long with 5 mins of questions. Afterward, come along to SMST’s legendary Thirsty Thursdays!

POSTPONED - Third Conversation - 7th October 2021

Dr. Michalia Arathimos, Writer in Residence, University of Waikato:

Not looking at each other, not looking at the 'self': Australian and New Zealand Literature(s) and cultural decoration

Michalia Arathimos is a Greek-New Zealand writer, but she doesn't call herself that in Australia. Raised in Te Whanaganui-a-tara, Michalia is Greek, but she didn't realise how important this would be in the reception of her writing until she started writing short stories about characters from different backgrounds. Then she saw a difference in the reactions of her Pākehā readers, who told her her 'cultural' writing was brave and important. She still didn't realise she would be thought of as an 'ethnic' writer until she started publishing fiction in Aotearoa New Zealand. Then, needing to choose between her Irish name and her Greek one, she saw that if she published under her Greek name she would be identified as culturally 'other'. This led her to doubt her right to write as 'other' and to not want to write from her actual experience for fear of playing some kind of cultural card. But when Michalia moved to Melbourne, where she would be based for seven years, she was no longer a part of a tiny migrant minority. No one was interested in the origin of her last name, because of Melbourne's diversity, and because it is home to 400,000 Greeks. The cultural identifiers dropped out of her author bio. Writing for a literary magazine and reviewing Australian fiction, she saw that Australian writing appeared on the surface to be more multicultural, or more inclusive. But she noticed as well how these narratives of inclusion echoed those in Aotearoa. Often they were more about the tolerant nature of the literary 'self', which was inevitably white. And she noticed something else: Australian and New Zealand authors could name a dozen UK or US writers that they liked, but they couldn't name each other. This means we are not so free of cultural cringe as we think we are.