Changes for WORD in 2023

November 28, 2022

After two years in the role, Nic Low is stepping down from the Programme Directorship of WORD Christchurch. Nic leaves us with stronger ties to Māori writers and storytellers, and a new strength in livestreaming and innovative digital presentation. He is leaving to concentrate on his own writing and his role as Partnerships Editor at New Zealand Geographic.

Executive Director Steph Walker says, “We are so sad to be losing Nic. His knack for weaving writers and artists together in the programme has been exemplary. However, his own writing is calling. We look forward to hosting Nic at future WORD festivals with his new books.”

With Nic’s departure comes a new way of working for WORD, shifting to a more collective approach. Current Programme & Engagement Manager Kiran Dass will take on the new role of Programme Lead and the organisation will shortly recruit up to four Programmers-at-Large to bring new voices to the team.

“It’s back to the writing desk for me,” says Nic. “It’s been a tough couple of years for festivals, but I’ve thrived on the challenge of helping steer WORD through the pandemic. Now it’s time for a new team of programmers to take over, led by Kiran Dass. Her deep book knowledge and rock and roll sensibility will take WORD to new heights. I’m looking forward to returning to the festival as a punter and an author in the coming years.”

Programming highlights from Nic’s tenure include The Faraway Near, a visionary series of intimate long table discussions with international writers zooming in from their own homes around the globe; and Te Piki o Tāwhaki, a storytelling extravaganza created by Ngāi Tahu artists that took place across several levels of Tūranga, the Christchurch City Central Library. Low also led on WORD’s livestreaming initiative, providing other Christchurch arts organisations with affordable access to gear, training and expertise. Nic’s final day with WORD is this Tuesday, 29 November.

WORD will continue to elevate Māori writers and storytellers, as well as creatives across the country (and beyond!) through the new  approach to programming.

This new shared approach to programming the WORD Christchurch festival extends an opportunity to the many and varied voices of Aotearoa, and offers a new way of working where writers and creatives don’t need to set aside their own practice full time in order to showcase the work of others. A call out for these new voices to join WORD will be announced shortly – could this be you? Stand by for more info.

We’re very excited for next year, and we’re so proud of Nic for following his writing passion. Like those who have gone before him, he’ll always be a part of the WORD whānau!

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