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British High Commissioner Announces Prestigious Scholarship

Her Excellency Laura Clarke, British High Commissioner, has named Jane Groufsky as The Clark Collection Scholar for 2020. Her Excellency says she is delighted to make the announcement as the Scholarship supports the sharing of cultural links and expertise between our two countries.

The Clark Collection Scholarship was created by Mr Errol Clark, a New Zealand financier, art connoisseur and heritage advocate. The Clark Collection’s support of the Scholarship provides an opportunity for New Zealand professionals in the built heritage and art sectors to expand their knowledge through attending the prestigious Attingham Trust Summer School in England. The Scholarship also offers the recipients the opportunity of short internships with organisations such as English Heritage, The National Trust, the Victoria & Albert Museum or The Royal Collection.

The Attingham Summer School is an intensive programme for the study of historic country houses and their collections, based in three different centres throughout the United Kingdom. The School offers a unique opportunity for participants to become acquainted with the history, architecture, contents and context of historic buildings and their gardens and estates. It examines how they are managed and explores contemporary challenges for display, access, conservation and interpretation.

Attingham is regarded as the leading study opportunity of its type anywhere in the world. Each year, 48 people from around the world participate in the School. Around thirty country houses are visited and renowned tutors lead discussions on heritage, conservation, interpretation and the decorative arts. For details of the Attingham Summer School see www.attinghamtrust.org

Jane Groufsky is Project Curator History at Auckland War Memorial Museum, where she is one of the curators for a major new permanent exhibition of the people and stories of Auckland. Previous roles have focussed on applied arts and design, and Jane has strong research interests in textiles, fashion and decorative arts, and has published internationally, including contributing to the Ockham NZ Book Awards long-listed Crafting Aotearoa (Te Papa Press 2019).

Jane is excited at the opportunities The Clark Collection Scholarship will provide to develop greater knowledge of decorative arts collections and how they are presented in museums and historic buildings in Britain. She is particularly interested to understand the social context for our colonial legacy, and its implications for museum practice. "The nucleus of Auckland Museum's decorative arts collection was formed through bequests of objets d’art collected as items of wealth and status," says Jane. "As we develop the new Tāmaki Herenga Waka - Stories of Auckland exhibition in the context of our 'encyclopaedic museum', we can explore the social historical facets of these objects in a way that makes them pertinent to today. I see parallels in this approach with the immersive nature of house museums and collections."

With the support of The Clark Collection and Museums Aotearoa, this Scholarship, established in 2003, is advancing the body of expertise on the decorative arts and built heritage in New Zealand. Previous Scholars are building on their Attingham experience, and making significant contributions in their fields. Recipients include Jeremy Smith (Olveston Historic House 2016), Sarah Farrar (Te Papa 2014), Finn McCahon-Jones (Auckland Museum 2013), Greg Donson (Sarjeant Gallery 2012), Justine Olsen (Te Papa 2010), Priscilla Pitts (Heritage NZ 2008) and Claire Regnault (Dowse Art Museum 2007).

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