Oceanic writer, anthropologist, and educator Epeli Hau’ofa advocated for ‘Big Ocean thinking’ – calling attention to an independent, vibrant, and socially networked Oceania from Australia and New Zealand in the southwest, to the United States and Canada in the northeast. Big Ocean thinking is an important rejection of colonial ideologies that try to confine Pacific peoples to small islands lost in a vast sea, and other Indigenous peoples to the past, to reservations, or to romanticised ideas of tradition and nature. Does interconnectivity also define a way forward? If so, what does it look like in creative practice, in scholarship, in the anthropology museum, in education, and in everyday ways? What sort of collaboration does it entail? What are the points around which Indigenous Australia and the Pacific (or Oceania) converge? What are the politics and ethics of interconnectivity? How can we do it better?

Join us for an exciting public panel and discussion with Dr. Frances C Koya Vaka'uta, Dr. Kalissa Alexeyeff, Michael Aird and Lindy Allen

Thursday 28 March 2019, 5:15pm for 5:30 pm start

UQ Anthropology Museum, Level 1, Michie Building #9, St Lucia

Frances C. Koya Vaka'uta is Director of the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. She is passionate about Pacific art, heritage and Indigenous knowledge systems and has worked on policy writing, community development, Indigenous research approaches, and Pacific research ethics.

Kalissa Alexeyeff is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne with interests in gender and sexuality, globalisation, Pacific performing arts and material culture.

Michael Aird is Research Fellow, UQ School of Social Science, Director of the Anthropology Museum and Co-curator of the current UQ exhibition, "Palm Trees and Tropical Sunsets: The Inspection Tour of Aboriginal Stations in North Queensland and Torres Strait 1931". He has curated over 20 museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as a number of photographic displays examining aspects of Indigenous presence and experience in Australian society.

Lindy Allen is a freelance curator, researcher & anthropologist with over 40 years experience in the cultural heritage/arts sector, a Research Associate at Museums Victoria and Co-curator of the current exhibition with Michael Aird.


UQ Anthropology Museum,
Chancellors Place
Level 1 Michie Building (#9)
University of Queensland St Lucia campus