Arts grant welcome boost for DSA lecturer

Thomas Lord’s “interesting and rewarding” photographic path has taken another positive development.

Thomas Lord small horiz for web

The Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga Dunedin School of Art photography lecturer is one of 17 New Zealand artists to have received a grant as part of the latest round of the Asia New Zealand Foundation's Arts Practitioners’ Fund.

The Asia New Zealand Arts Practitioners Fund serves to facilitate experiential opportunities for New Zealand-based arts practitioners to strengthen their artistic and professional ties with Asia.

“These opportunities can range from attendance at significant events to structured research tours or self-organised artist residencies, such as the one I've been offered in Kofu, in Yamanashi prefecture. I’ll be in Yamanashi prefecture for the month of July with a couple of research trips scheduled for weekends in Tokyo and Hiroshima,” Thomas explains.

“Having been offered the residency in 2020 just before the onset of the first lockdown, I am now eagerly anticipating the chance to finally attend it.

“Over the past four years, I've had time to contemplate and envision what I might focus my research on during this residency. However, I also intend to let the project unfold organically through interactions with the local community and fellow artists attending the residency.”

Looking beyond the weekly commitments of the residency, Thomas says the trip presents additional opportunities for artistic growth and collaboration.

“I'll personally deposit my own photobook into a respected library, which will help me engage with the local artistic community. I look forward to this opportunity of connecting with like-minded photobook artists and publishers, with the chance of forming valuable relationships and the potential future collaborations.”

Thomas says the Asia New Zealand Arts Practitioners Fund grant is an invaluable opportunity.

“The grant serves as a crucial financial injection that not only sustains my practice but also enables me to overcome logistical challenges. ”

Thomas Lord

Photography Lecturer

As an artist based in Yamanashi-ken, where public transport can be quite limiting compared to other areas of Japan, Thomas can organise my own transportation to several mountainous areas he wants to explore and make work in.

In addition, the grant has opened doors to further professional development for Thomas.

“I'm now researching and looking at self-funding some specialist printing workshops, which were previously out of reach, and visit studios and galleries that don’t have much of an online presence.”

Having “dabbled” in photography for about 25 years, Thomas has been lecturing at the DSA for the past three years, primarily on the Diploma in Photography (level-6) programme. Before that, he was a teaching technician across the Bachelor of Visual Arts degree.

“In my current role, I have the opportunity to utilise a blend of collaborative and experiential teaching approaches, which I find effective in fostering deeper learning experiences for learners. This approach not only capitalises on each student's unique perspective and experiences but also encourages problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

“By engaging with the material in this manner, learners develop confidence in their abilities and are better prepared for real-world industry experiences, which are integral components of the level-6 curriculum.”

For Thomas, photography represents more than just the images that are made.

“It’s an exciting medium that unravels the complexities of our perception. It allows us to explore what we see, how we see, and the diverse perspectives that shape our understanding."

“It's like holding a time machine in our hands, yet there's a tension within photography, a dance between past, present, and future that has the ability to challenge our relationship with time itself.”

Thomas Lord

Photography Lecturer

Published on 10 Apr 2024