16 November 2011

Research Project: Artefacts of Encounter

Artefacts of Encounter, a UK-based research project sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is now half-way through its 3-year duration.

The project, led by Nicholas Thomas and Amiria Salmond and hosted by the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, examines the legacy of early European voyages into Polynesia (1765-1840), focusing on collections of Pacific artefacts as primary evidence of these cross-cultural encounters and ensuing transformations.

Study visits have already been carried out to document and study relevant material in UK, French, German, Estonian, Russian and other European collections, and more trips are planned for 2012, to Norway, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the US and New Zealand. 

Research findings are being incorporated into KIWA, a closed-access internet-based platform for collaborative collections-based research. We would be delighted to hear from researchers with a specialist interest in Polynesian material culture who would be interested in joining us as Affiliated Researchers (our current expanded team includes Anne Salmond, Jenny Newell, Patricia Wallace, Deidre Brown and Wonu Veys).

We would also be pleased to hear from museum curators responsible for Polynesian material and whose institution wishes to collaborate with project research.

A workshop will be held next year to present preliminary findings and to showcase the digital aspect of our work.

Please visit our website http://maa.cam.ac.uk/aofe/ for more information about the project, including news of our latest discoveries!

15 November 2011

The William Fagg Lecture 2011

BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum
Friday 9th December 2011
Nicholas Thomas
Professor of Historical Anthropology, and Director Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Following the voyages of Captain Cook, an extraordinary range of encounters took place in the islands of the Pacific. While the European intrusion was notoriously destructive, commerce and empire enabled Islanders to travel and interact in new ways. This lecture traces Pacific experiences of empire through the lens of some of the great and innovative art works of the nineteenth century, including objects in the collections of the British Museum.

The lecture will be followed by a reception