pacific arts association :: PACIFIC

past paa Pacific


13-15 DECEMBER 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had global repercussions, severely impacting the arts and cultural sector and our young people. Arts, culture and youth lie at the core of the collaborative research project Urban Pathways: Fiji. Youth. Arts. Culture., funded by the British Academy’s Youth Futures Programme, supported under the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund. The Urban Pathways project aims to identify how Fiji’s urban youth experience culture. It also explores how cultural heritage institutions in Fiji can engage youth and offer viable employment opportunities. It seeks to create awareness of the creative industries, and cultural heritage and management. Culture is understood in a broad sense including the relationship with the marine and terrestrial environment and natural heritage.

Hosted by Urban Pathways, the Pacific Arts Association’s Pacific Chapter online conference Transmission | Art, Culture & Covid-19 will examine how the cultural and creative industries and their practitioners (artists, academics, museum personnel, etc.) are addressing critical issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. Recognizing that strengthening societal resilience is an inherently cultural act, the conference provides an opportunity for deeper conversations about what it means to survive through crises. It draws on the concept of ‘survivance’, a critical term coined by Native American scholar Gerald Vizenor, who combines the words ‘survival’ and ‘resistance’ as going ‘beyond mere survival to acknowledge the dynamic and creative nature of Indigenous rhetoric’ (Vizenor 2008: 20). The conference poses the following questions:

  • How do artists and arts and cultural practitioners cope with crises such as the Covid pandemic?
  • How do they show their resilience and survivance?
  • What is the place and role of youth and intergenerational knowledge exchange in this context?
  • How will these issues affect Pacific cultures in the future?

The overall theme ‘transmission’ speaks to its current relevance in our pandemic-stricken world as well as its significance in arts and culture practice. The transmission process of arts, culture and creativity is multi-layered and multi-generational. It moves in time and space between elders, youth, practitioners, artists and knowledge holders to create intergenerational dialogue and knowledge exchange. Submissions are invited on one of the conference sub-themes:


  • Art as Resistance (heritage & contemporary/ museums/ gallery – objects/artforms/spaces)
  • Pacific Arts & the Global Pandemic (impact of covid-19 on artists and creative practice)

RESILIENCE (Youth, Pacific Arts & Culture)

  • Youth Voices: Coping with Covid (resilience & Pacific Youth/Youth as the future/as emerging leaders/future custodians/etc.)
  • Intergenerational knowledge exchange (as central to continuity and survival of Pacific arts and culture/culture as dynamic/etc.)

Conference convenors will accept submissions that address the theme of the conference. We invite proposals for the following categories:

– 15-minute reports
– 25-minute papers (with 10-minute question time per paper)
– Panel sessions (up to 60 minutes in length with up to 6 speakers per panel)
– Artistic contributions

Performance, film and other artistic expressions are welcomed in the place of reports/papers or as artistic interludes and side events. Please get in touch with the conference convenors to discuss the possibilities and timeframes available for such contributions.

Abstracts and artistic expressions of interest are to be submitted using the following form:

The deadline for submissions is Friday 15 October 2021 at 17h00 (FJT). More information about the conference (which is currently envisaged as taking place via Zoom) and how to register will be available online from Monday 25 October 2021.

Any questions about the online conference or submitting an abstract/artistic expression of interest should be directed to  transmissionpaapacific.

Images courtesy of VOU Dance Fiji; photographed by Mereia Rova

2019 Vanuatu Making Connections: ni-Vanuatu Artists, Objects and Histories

National Library and Archives, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 20-22 March 2019

The Pacific Chapter of the Pacific Arts Association is excited to offer the occasion for scholars, students, artists, and curators to visit Port Vila, Vanuatu and make connections with ni-Vanuatu artists, objects, and histories. Our conference – an excursion from the PAA International Symposium in Brisbane – will be held 20-22 March 2019 at the National Library and Archives (next door to the Vanuatu Cultural Centre).

The intention of this excursion is to provide the opportunity for those attending the PAA’s XIII International Symposium (and others interested in the arts of the Pacific) to visit Vanuatu and learn about the role of the arts in ni-Vanuatu culture and society

2017 PAA Pacific held on the Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific, Samoa

The Performing Arts - Making the Invisible Visible Apia, Samoa, 27 November -1 December 2017

Adrienne Kaeppler has suggested that one (key) role that art plays in Pacific societies is to make the invisible visible. In particular, the performing arts have developed over the millennia as integral aspects of ritual, political and economic exchanges, and in some cases entertainment. Today, performance has been the vehicle through which Pacific peoples have addressed such issues as; global warming, dis/relocation, the loss and maintenance of cultural integrity/traditions, colonialism, and sovereignty. In this way, the arts place issues of importance in the public domain; making what appears invisible, visible.

Pacific peoples have been connected to their land and oceans over countless generations. Their relationship with the land and sea is cultural, physical and spiritual; resulting in the creation of specific cultural identities. Generations of ‘aiga’ (family) relationships have been developed through ancestral ties that connect family histories and stories to place – all linked to the land and to the sea. When the Pacific Islands are threatened, Pacific lives are threatened. Climate change, ocean warming and sea level rise threaten Pacific Island survival. Island environments, habitats, food security, health, and Pacific cultures risk being lost.

How will these issues effect our cultures in the future? What will dislocation do to a nation’s sense of cultural identity? Is relocation to foreign lands a choice? And, more specifically, how do the arts address these issues? In what ways do dancers, choreographers, musicians, poets, and artists express their relationship to the land, the sea, to each other; and even dis/relocation.

This conference examines how the arts and arts practitioners (artists, academics, museum personnel) are addressing these critical issues.

2015: 29 Sept.-4 Oct., at Fa’onelua Conference Centre Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga.

2015 Trading Traditions: The Role of Art in the Pacific’s Expansive Exchange Networks

Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga, 30 September-4 October 2015

The Pacific Branch of the Pacific Arts Association is calling for interest in its 2015 conference, to be held at the Fa’onelua Conference Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga from 30 September to 4 October, 2015.

Recent archaeological investigations have confirmed what we already knew– that there was widespread trade among islands and cultures across the pacific well in advance of the European arrival. The theme of this conference offers a myriad of investigations into the role/s art has played in the exchange of objects, peoples, technologies, and ideologies in the pre-historic, historic, or modern Pacific. It is not limited to ‘physical’ exchanges, but also addresses complex social, economic and political arrangements/interactions between interconnected systems, structures and peoples. Among others, we seek to enhance our understanding of how art moved across time and through communities, why some exchanges were more successful than others and how geography, technology, or localized social structures influenced artistic function, meaning or traditions

2014 Conferences Noumea Austronesia - a journey to the past and present

Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia, 24-25 May 2014


The objectives are to explore the ancient connections of our Austronesian ancestors as well as to address the many contemporary connections amongst indigenous art and artists. The increasingly close engagement of Asian and Pacific Island nations creates a need for a understanding of the complex region of Oceania beyond the patterns imposed by Western history and influence.

The Conveners will accept papers that address the theme of the conference. We invite proposals from researchers and scholars, curators and artists to engage with and challenge the ancient and contemporary connections amongst Austronesian peoples, especially in artistic expression.