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The Australian National University

Kioloa retreat 2011

View slideshow for the 2011 retreat

For years the faculty and Ph.D. candidates of the Asia Pacific History department run a spring retreat at the ANU Kioloa coastal campus. The purpose of the retreat has always been to consolidate relationships within the History community. Scholars are able to explore new avenues of thought through cross-disciplinary debate, via research presentations, and the collective experience of the event itself, which also serve as a pathway of social introduction for those new to the Coombs building.

The event for 2011, which took place over three days, was more structured than in previous years, focusing on the process of undertaking a Doctorate. Senior academics from within the multitude of departments in the School of Culture, History & Language (CHL) collaborated with administrative staff, and post-fieldwork students to give a number of fascinating talks drawn from their experiences related to the practice. Professor Brij V. Lal whose area of expertise includes Contemporary Pacific Islands History, Comparative Constitutionalism, and the Asian Diaspora, held a an open forum on the perils of field work. Vanisha Mishra-Vakaoti (Experiences and Pathways of Discontinuing School Children in Fiji) and Undargaa Sandagsuren, who is based at the Crawford School, were both generous in sharing information about their experiences. On the following day, Professor in Japanese History Tessa Morris-Suzuki gave an engaging and insightful talk on archival practices. Emeritus Professor and Visiting Fellow Anthony Reid over from the Department of Political & Social Change, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies at the Crawford School, joined the party for the afternoon to give a talk on the profound nature of History. On the last day, CHL administration staff member responsible for HDR Editing Assistance Maxine McArthur put the group through some practical exercises designed to highlight awareness of our own writing practices. The last day of the retreat saw another student speaker Andrew Connelly, working on the Colonial History of Trobriand Islands and now in his final year, pick up the topic of authoring a Ph.D. Associate Professor Gregory Fealy, who presented an open and frank exchange on the arduous task of finding work, capped this off.

The weather at the retreat was kind and everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere sitting around the campfire late into the night. The formal talks of the day drifted on informally into the evening, aided at one point by Mongolian singing! APH provided generous funds for the catering, delivered by Jutta Beshold, who managed to cook for hungry group of twenty-three staff and students. Next year Asia Pacific History hope to include families, making the retreat more accessible for those with dependents.

Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster