Introducing Daz Martin – DA Events Producer

5 months ago by

Late last year Design Assembly welcomed our newest team member Daz Martin. He has extensive experience in the arts sector and sees event production as an artform. Daz is currently finalising our program, ensuring we deliver the Aotearoa design community a rich round up of events and workshops in 2021 and beyond. Say kia ora to Daz online at our next Under the hood event, in person at our upcoming Autumn Conversations or drop him an email here.
Was there something or someone that lead you towards event production and management?
For me, my pathway into events was led by a desire to build communities and provide opportunities for people to connect with the things they are passionate about. My undergrad degree was in Youth & Community Development, and my early events experience was heavily geared towards community projects, working for arts trusts and student unions. If you think about it, any event – from festivals, to conferences, to even things like funerals – they are all about bringing people together for a common purpose and to celebrate something that they have in common. So many of my best memories are attached to events of different kinds – so I like the idea that I’m helping people create positive memories.
Can you tell us a little about the highlights of your career history so far?
That’s a tough question – because I’ve worked on so many great projects, which have been special to me for different reasons. There have been a few stand outs, however. In 2015/16, when I was living in Melbourne, I had the opportunity to produce two group runway shows for the Melbourne Fashion Festival. I followed the festival for years and when I moved to Melbourne, had identified the festival as being a dream job; so when a full-time role came up with Event Gallery, the festival’s production company, I jumped at it – but didn’t get it; however I connected well with the Executive Producer and she called me back in when another freelance role came up later in the year. It turned out for the best, because the role I ended up with worked closely with the full creative team and designers. Those two shows are still some of my proudest moments in my career.Other standout roles in general have been working with Student Unions – I’ve worked for three unions in three different countries; creating events for students at the University of Canterbury, University of Melbourne and Imperial College London. These roles generally had a lot of creative freedom when it came to designing and programming events -and I enjoyed having such a clearly defined audience I could build a connection with, so I could create experiences I knew they would enjoy.
What do you enjoy most about instigating experiences that connect and bring people together?
I often refer to events being my artform; because like anyone who produces a creative work – I both enjoy the creative process of bringing it to life, but also once the hard work is done, getting to stand back and see an audience enjoy what I’ve created. Events are the vehicle for so many positive outcomes – celebration, inspiration, learning. If we’ve learnt anything from the COVID pandemic, it’s how integral spending time in the physical presence of other humans is to the human experience – so I find great fulfillment in instigating opportunities for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company.

You work across a broad range of sectors, including government, education, arts, creative, not-for-profit and corporate… do you have a favourite space to work within and if so what makes it stand out?

The arts and creative sector is definitely where my heart lies. I love experiencing art and creativity in all its forms – so my drive to produce these experiences comes from the desire simply to see more of it in the world, and play my part in making the work of creatives available to the world. It’s so fulfilling to me to be able to support the work of creative people, and help give them a platform to showcase their work or develop their skills.

Who are you listening to right now?

As it’s summer, which means road-trip season, I’m a shameless fan of anything pop – so Harry Styles, Troye Sivan, Dua Lipa, Gaga have all been regulars on the playlist. But I really love a whole range of music – I’ve recently been reacquainting myself with broadcast radio – and have found myself listening to The Sound and The Hits a lot, because they generally crank out a lot of good up-beat tunes that I wouldn’t think to look up for myself.

You have recently moved from WLG to AKL to start post-grad study in Journalism and Broadcasting at AUT – what are you most excited about in this next chapter of your career?

I’m mostly looking forward to broadening my skill-set and scratching an itch I’ve had to move more into the screen world. Particularly with COVID, the lines between live events and screen are starting to blur and I think the future of events is going to be much more tied to broadcast. The way I see it, online events and live television are essentially the same thing, the only difference is the level of complexity and how they’re distributed to their audiences – so I’d like to explore the other side of the equation more. I’m also looking forward to upskilling my presenting skills – I’ve hosted a lot of events in my time, but I’ve mostly been self-taught and developed the skill out of necessity – having some formal training in that space, I’m hoping will help me grow in confidence there. Ultimately though, I’ve always said my dream job is to produce and host a travel show – so, maybe this will be a good step in the right direction to help make that happen!

Your insta account is exceptionally curated and you have an eye for photography and visual art – do you have a favourite NZ photographer, artist or designer?

This aesthetic was all very much inspired by iconic NZ photographer Laurence Aberhart. I saw an exhibition of his work in Christchurch about 10 years ago and it really stuck with me. His black and white aesthetic invokes such a strong sense of nostalgia, and which I’m quite naturally drawn to. In general, I have always connected to photography and visual art as a way of communicating, as I find it easier to create an emotional connection through image than through words – particularly when capturing a particular moment in time. As an amateur in that space however, my instagram feed is a simple way to indulge my creativity. The black and white aesthetic is inspired by the idea being that my instagram is a catalogue of memories that I look back on fondly; echoing that nostalgic feeling I get from Aberhart’s work.

What is coming up in the 2021 DA events program that you are excited to deliver?

Oh, there’s so much good stuff coming up! Personally, I think the Autumn and Spring Conversations series are what I’m looking forward to the most – mainly because as our bigger events happening across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, they’ll be the best opportunity I’ll have to get out and meet the breadth of the Design Assembly community – and I know they’ll be great events where we can all come together and connect. I love a good panel event too, because it gives the opportunity for incredibly talented people to share their stories and expertise with the community too. Obviously, we’re still pulling the specifics together at the moment, but they’ll definitely be something to look out for.



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