This essay is a reflection on the methods through which I have engaged with the Festival of Pacific Arts over the last eleven years and my thoughts on the potential of the festival for better integration with research, arts education and policy in Oceania. The genealogy of the festival is well known is well known - its beginnings in 1972 with the first festival in Suva and a theme of "preserving culture", the second in Rotorua "sharing culture", and similar themes throughout the years, including more specific ones such as "seafaring heritage" in Rarotonga in 1992, and "culture in harmony with nature" in the Solomon Islands in 2012. The explicit focus on preserving and sustaining Pacific culture and arts for the last forty years reflects a major cornerstone of Pacific cultural identities and resilience. Indeed, as mentioned in the Pacific Regional Culture Strategy, by the Honourable Faustina Rehurer-Marugg, Minister for Cultural Affairs in Palau, the event "finds its source in the 1960s when the Pacific leaders, through their establishment of the festival, saw the urgent need to address the disappearance of precious cultural heritage." And yet the event and the immense process and preparations leading up to each staging of the quadrennial gathering, which regularly features over twenty delegations and thousands of participants, is relatively untapped for its long-term political, economic and education policy potentials.
|Title of host publication||The Festival of Pacific Arts: Celebrating over 40 years of Cultural Heritage|
|Editors||Karen Stevenson and Katerina Teaiwa|
|Place of Publication||Suva|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|