On 9 September, the School of Culture, History & Language at the College of Asia & the Pacific will introduce the larger academic community at ANU to something unique. A novel graduate event in CHL’s history, the CHL Graduate Symposium will showcase the strength and diversity of research conducted by the School’s HDR students through traditional, experimental and creative modes of presentation.
Engaging with intellectual debates from across anthropology, archaeology and natural history, gender, media and cultural studies, linguistics, and pacific and Asian history, the School weaves interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches necessary to understanding the lifeworlds within Asia and the Pacific. Such work, conducted in collaboration with partners throughout the world and the region, contributes unique perspectives and insights.
We spoke to the convenors of the symposium, HDR reps Talei Mangioni, Matthew Adeleye and Michael Dunford, about the event, its genesis and what the vision for the future behind this pioneering effort is.
What is the vision behind the CHL Graduate Symposium?
We as the organisers of this symposium wanted to do this in the first place as a way of bringing us together as a HDR community from all over the world. The objective was also to build connections across our varied disciplines and life experiences. Additionally, we thought it would be a really fun way for our HDR students at many different stages of their PhD journey to learn about each other’s work. Since CHL has so many different areas of expertise and focus—from archaeology and natural history to gender, media and cultural Studies—and its typical of us as academics to confine ourselves to the silos of our respective disciplines. We thought this would be a fun and enlightening experience to introduce and share our research with each other, in a fairly informal way, especially while many of us are in lockdown!
This is also the first ever one of its kind in the history of CHL, so we are really excited about this milestone and trendsetting initiative.
What do you hope to achieve through this symposium?
We hope that it will foster conversation in ways that help to cultivate our relationships, advance scholarship and create or strengthen collaborative engagements across our School.
What can participants expect from this symposium beyond the event?
We hope to establish it as an annual event, where we can come together as a School to celebrate each other’s research. We also hope to run it in person next time and in the meantime have more HDR gatherings this year.
How do you intend to measure the success of the symposium?
We hope to get feedback from presenters and attendees of the CHL community. This is definitely the guinea pig of what we hope to be a regular feature in our annual calendar, so anything we learn from this one, we will definitely try to implement in our future symposiums.
The pandemic has majorly changed higher education for the student community. In the current environment, what you do think students should do to overcome their challenges and make the most of their studies?
Yes, the pandemic has really hit HDR students hard. Many of us are unable to travel to the places that we need to be at, and it’s really difficult to stay motivated in these times. We think that it’s really important to stay connected with the broader CHL HDR community and feel a part of something bigger to stay connected and accountable. We hope that this symposium is one small step towards that.
The keynote will be delivered by Dr Eva Nisa, and you can look forward to a great line-up of HDR presenters.
Register here to come along and learn more about some of their excellent research projects.
The team hopes to see as many from the CHL community as possible!