PAA XIII International Symposium March 25-28, 2019, Brisbane, Australia. Call for Full Sessions and Curated Panels, Demonstrations, Activations, Performances and Workshops. Submit by October 15

Hosted by Queensland Museum, State Library of Queensland, Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.


RESILIENCE:  sustaining, re-activating and connecting culture


For the Pacific Arts Association XIII International Symposium we will come together on the lands of the Yugerra and Turrbal Peoples and meet near the Maiwar (the river) on Kurilpa Point, the place of the water rat. We will create a Respectful Place to engage with one another, exchange ideas and explore the major theme for the symposium, RESILIENCE. Through sharing our arts, cultural and curatorial practice we can create a better understanding about the role Pacific contemporary art is playing in maintaining, reviving and connecting Indigenous cultural practices on the global stage. This connects to the ability of past and present Pacific peoples to sustain their cultural integrity and to adapt creatively to new circumstances, sometimes traumatic ones. Sharing our experiences also connects to the value of collections of Pacific material preserved in museums in the Pacific and elsewhere, which can serve both as a testament to past creativity and also as an inspiration to artists, curators, communities and audiences, to value Pacific heritage and the works of the ancestors.


From a local perspective, Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders’ connection to land, sea and sky has been informed and maintained by cultural knowledge systems since time immemorial. Cultural knowledge systems elsewhere in the Pacific have also been and continue to be informed by concerns about identity, community and environmental issues. Artists are increasingly addressing these pressing concerns – from inherited trauma and broken knowledge lines; to rising sea levels and pollution in our oceans; to the influence of technology and the access to heritage and history; and to the competing values of knowledge, wealth and ownership – in order to make sense of this world and continue to share, express and maintain a sense of belonging and respect for ourselves and others in the past, present and future.


Entering into these complex systems of relating and responsibilities are Australian South Sea Islanders; descendants of thousands of Pacific Islanders, lured, tricked, kidnapped and enslaved to work in sugar farms in Queensland. This hidden history of slavery in Australia is crying out to be heard, acknowledged and healed. Like the experiences of many Indigenous Peoples, these stories are difficult to tell and even more difficult to hear. Embracing these significant histories and creating a space of belonging is integral for acknowledgement and healing to take place.


In museums, in the Pacific and beyond, artists, curators and researchers are working to open up and reactivate their often long-dormant Pacific collections for new audiences though accessible documentation, research, exhibitions, displays and artists’ interventions, thereby making them relevant while at the same time celebrating what Pacific Islanders achieve. We welcome papers in each session that share experiences and recent work on collections, exhibitions and community projects. We hope these papers will allow us to share knowledge of collections, experiences and resources and explore future opportunities for collaboration.


All those concerned with the arts of the Pacific, from anywhere in the world, are invited to come together in Brisbane in 2019 to explore RESILIENCE by sharing artistic production, cultural activities and curatorial practice. We encourage a dynamic dialogue that is innovative, progressive and generates new ideas to challenge our perceptions, as well as to create better understandings about the creative role of Pacific arts in understanding who we are, what we do and how we relate to one another in and around the region.



  • Knowledge lines – connecting and creating the old and the new

Topics: revisiting collections, language, climate change, story telling, contemporary art, inherited trauma, digital, belonging, theatre, music,

  • Embracing real wealth and value

Topics: Ownership, engagement and exchange, women’s wealth, collections and collecting practices

  • Identity – moving between different worlds

Topics: Identity (cultural, sexual, spiritual, gender); Identity and place, transcontinental dialogue, diaspora communities, translocation of art and artefacts

  • Creation and Collaboration

Creative spaces; innovation; communication; case-studies; engagement


Proposals are also welcomed for full sessions/ curated panels, demonstrations, activations, performances and workshops. Please propose these separately with an outline (no more than 1 A4 page) including details about the proposal, length of time proposed, participants, costs and funding model.


An abstract submission form is attached please complete and submit by 15 October 2018.


The conference website is under construction all correspondence / abstract submissions should be directed to:


We look forward to welcoming you in Brisbane!