An Ocean of Knowledge

Pacific seafaring, cultural survival, and sustainability

University of California, Irvine
18 & 19 October 2017

 This interdisciplinary workshop/symposium planned for October 18 and 19, 2017 at UCI focuses on the remarkable – but almost lost –navigation and seafaring traditions of the peoples who traversed and settled one-third of the world. The event will consider the centrality of seafaring for Pacific Island cultures, focusing on the intersections of history, climate science, cultural survival, and Indigenous sustainability.

 The event will include a keynote, four thematic sessions, two film nights, two receptions, and a visit to the campus proa (sakman) building project Orthogonal. Keynote speaker, anthropologist Marianne (Mimi) George, has for 25 years worked with the people of the eastern Solomon Islands to help them save their navigation and boat building through the Vaka Taumako Project.

In the presentation sessions, we will delve into the unique cultural and cognitive aspects of Islander navigation, wayfinding, boatbuilding and sailing techniques. We will review the science of climate change and sea level rise, specifically as it impacts island nations and the ecology of reefs and fisheries. We will bring these themes together to consider cultural and economic survival today, and for the future.

We welcome attendees from Pacific Islander communities in southern California and elsewhere. Event is free to attend for all, but attendees are requested to register in advance. (Catering will not be guaranteed to late or non-registrants).

Director: Simon Penny, Professor, Art, UCI.
Associate Director: Sylvia Frain, PhD, University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Register Here

Registration is free, but seats are limited. 

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