Euan Robertson

Euan Robertson

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Euan is an academic and performance artist; his research platform focuses on national and cultural identity through the lens of conflict, peace, memorialisation and memory employing performance, multi sensory and interactive installations. He also researches constructed gender stereotypes and the resulting representations that impact upon perceptions and performances of masculinity.

Euan has extensive experience in the advertising and design industry before joining Massey University. His industry and academic skills and experiences are pivotal to a number of courses he teaches especially involving social change.

  • Expertise

    Communication and creative strategic development; advertising and design thinking; marketing solutions; gender theory; Pasifika; World War One; Anzac narratives around the everyday of the soldier.

  • Research Highlights

    Robertson, E. (2015). Rain, a hot meal and a tot of Rum No.2 [multi-sensory output featuring projection and performance]. Commissioned by the Centenary History of New Zealand project commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli 1915. Awapuni Function Centre, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

    This performance focused on the everyday of New Zealand troops on Gallipoli. Projecting onto transition walls and layered screen within architectural spaces, the audience became engaged in the performance to give them a glimpse into soldier’s lives. Selected and edited historical images relevant to the battle were reconfigured and coloured juxtaposing soldier’s quotes. Rare and traditional WW1 bagpipe tunes were recorded to accompany my live music. Soldiers in WW1 uniforms and bagpipers were positioned to add further context to the performance. Event partners icluded: the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and New Zealand Defence Force.

    Robertson, E. (2014). No Man’s Land: A New Zealand narrative [multi-sensory output featuring projection and performance]. Commissioned by Experience of a Lifetime Conference: People, Personalities and Leaders in the First World War. Dominion Museum, Pukeahu Park, Wellington, New Zealand.

    No Man’s Land interprets specific New Zealand soldier identities during WW1 in a performance that reconfigured myths surrounding memorialisation and memory. The performance presented perceptions of war highlighted by a bagpiper in an immersive field of poignant black and white imagery that included audience members navigating the space directed by multiple projections. Traditional military bagpipe music was juxtaposed with my extemporized music. The event attracted international and national historians and academics including the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, New Zealand Defence Force, Professor Sir Hew Strachan (All Souls College, University of Oxford), Professor Michael Neiberg (US Army War College) and Professor Peter Stanley (University of New South Wales).

    Robertson, E. (2017). Touching a nerve: Bridging the gap between real and imagined regarding the everyday of New Zealand’s Great War soldiers. In Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy Symposium. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.

    This paper opened with a short performance to contextualise the theme of how war myth making and civil religion in Australia and New Zealand impacts national identity. It examined centennial commemorations, especially Gallipoli and Anzac Day, alongside media tropes and patriotic rhetoric incorporating soldier stereotypes restricting broader discourse on the war. The performance and accompanying video featured an installation containing thousands of hanging strips of white cloth referencing WW1 bandages. Text was projected through the bandages. I was attired completely in black garb removing references to decode the performer.
    The Symposium explored how the impact of 1917 reconfigured world orders, perspectives, cultures and practices. Keynotes include: Prof Michael Neiberg and Dr Gorch Pieken, Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr.

    Robertson, E. (2014). Constructing New Zealand nationalism through propaganda and recruitment posters. In 2014 Annual Design History Society Conference: Design for War and Peace. University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

    This paper explored New Zealand national identity 1914-18 and the developing sense of independence post 1918. World War One enabled New Zealand to test itself against the best of the British Empire. Recruitment and propaganda posters played an important role in cultivating patriotism within the New Zealand psyche. The paper examines the rhetoric and symbolism embedded inside the visual imagery within a New Zealand context and analysed through the lens of semiotics. The New Zealand Government imported posters from Britain and copied these for wide spread dissemination to augment the local posters which were bland and text only. These former posters contained imagery personifying righteous purpose with manifest links to the mother country. The paper also explores the heightening the sense of New Zealand’s kinship with the Empire and yearning to proclaim what its people embodied.

    Robertson, E. (2015). Rain, a hot meal and a tot of Rum: No.1 [Exploratory projection and bagpipe performance]. A War, History, Heritage, Art and Memory Research Network, Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its legacy Symposium. Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Robertson, E. (2016). College of Creative Arts Pasifika Artists Pilot Programme and Exhibition. [Exploratory Pasifika Artist residency and exhibition], featured the Seleka International Art Society Initiative from Tonga. Pasifika Fale/The Pyramid, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Robertson, E. (2015, September). An assault on the emotions: Exploring the tension between the real and the imagined. In The History of Emotions Conference. Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Robertson, E. (2014). No Man's Land: The Beginning [Experimental visual chronicle and bagpipe performance]. War, History, Heritage, Art and Memory Research Network commission to culminate a Gallipoli campaign anniversary commemoration]. Te Aro Hihiko, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Robertson, E. (2012, November). Constructing and commemorating soldiers during the Great War. In Endurance and the First World War Conference. Air Force Museum, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Retrieved from 

    Robertson, E. (2017). Exploring teaching methods to engage with and challenge Pacific learners: An auto-ethnographical enquiry. In K. Stevenson (Ed.), Trading Traditions: The Role of Art in the Pacific’s Expansive Exchange Networks (pp. 63-70). USP Press, The University of the South Pacific.

    Robertson, E. (2017). Creative practices that reveal and interweave Poly-cultural spaces. In Pacific Arts Association Conference - Making the Invisible Visible. Apia, Samoa.

  • Qualifications

    Master of Fine Arts (Massey University)