Mr Huw Rowlands

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Historical and Contemporary Performance of Cross-Cultural Encounters


My research explores the roles of colonial-indigenous encounters and their subsequent expression in a range of media and contexts, including the contemporary world. I will choose three case studies that will enable examination of some of the many characterisations of encounter. The following are planned, drawn from James Cook's first Pacific voyage in HMB Endeavour in 1768-71:

  • The Endeavour's arrival at Turanganui in Aotearoa New Zealand, with Tahitian navigator and arioi, Tupaia in October 1769, and commemorations in 1919, 1969 and 2019;
  • Institutional commemorations of this event in London: choosing one of three events planned for 2018: at British Library, The Royal Museums, Greenwich, or the Royal Academy;
  • A documentary film of Tupaia's life and his relationship with the Endeavour voyage called 'Tupaia's Endeavour', by Lala Rolls.

Seen through the lenses of performance and performativity, the research aims to understand the roles of first contact encounter events in the cross-cultural dynamics of contemporary societies.

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