News and events that have passed will be archived here for future reference and will be available to view for the duration of the project.
In November, two very productive project meetings were held at the British Museum in London. The first meeting of the project's Advisory Committee took place in the morning and produced very stimulating conversation and discussion. All committee members, including representatives from the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich and the Fiji High Commission, gave strong encouragement and advice for the future of the project. That same afternoon, a meeting was held with the project's UK-based and European project partners. The purpose of this meeting was to begin collaborations between the project and each project partner institution in order to discuss how to best work together to achieve mutual goals. Project members received excellent feedback from both meetings and look forward to future meetings with all involved.
Project members have also been busy conducting research visits to select museums. In early November, the project team travelled to Edinburgh for a 3-day research visit at the National Museum of Scotland. Some very interesting objects were examined, including early barkcloth collections that were acquired by the museum in as early as the 1850s. Another collection of interest, consisting of a large variety of object types, was donated by John W Bradley in 1868. In another research visit, Professor Hooper spent two days at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. While there, he had the opportunity to examine many different types of objects and, unexpectedly, was able to look at material from the HMS Curaçoa voyage, which included a kava bowl once belonging to and presented by Cakobau.
Plans for the exhibition at MAA in Cambridge, featuring the history of MAA's Fijian collection, are underway and the exhibition is set to run from May/June 2013 until early 2014. Positive discussions are also underway with two major venues for a larger exhibition on Fijian art, provisionally titled The Arts of Fiji. Museums that would like to have smaller Fijian displays using their own collections will have the opportunity to do so as plans are in progress to work with such museums to create these displays based on each institutions needs.
In exciting news, the Fiji Museum, one of the project's partner museums, has just opened an exhibition featuring Fijians serving in the British Army. Entitled 50 Years in the British Army, this exhibition focuses on 212 Fijians who were recruited to join the British Armed Forces in the early 1960s. It is curated by the children of the 212 Fijians (FLAMES) and runs from December 2011 to February 2012. For more information, please visit the Fiji Museum's facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/fijimuseum?sk=wall&filter=2).
We are very happy to announce that the project has welcomed two new Project Associate Museums, each of whom holding significant Fijian collections. The first is the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and the second is the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. Each museum will have their own page on our website, detailing the types of Fijian objects housed in their institutions, so please check back with our Project Associate Museums page in due course.
In September, trips were made to two of our project partner museums: the British Museum and the Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery. Extensive research is also continuing in Cambridge with Dr Lucie Carreau and her project volunteers, Heather and Remke, learning valuable information about Fiji's history and culture.
The project has made several small collections-based research visits to museums in the United Kingdom to look at their Fijian collections. Thus far, select objects from the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (London), the British Museum (London) and the Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) have been examined.
Research, object identification and documentation continue to be worked on at the MAA. Dr Lucie Carreau has been working with project volunteers, Heather Donoghue and Remke van der Velden, who have proved to be a great asset to the project team. Remke and Heather have been assisting Lucie with examining the bowls collections and are also helping to update data and repack boxes. To date, they have looked at over 200 bowls, 50 ornaments and 50 raw materials. Heather has also spent time working with Constance Gordon-Cumming's watercolours in order to match up the bowls in the paintings to bowls in MAA's collection.
Also in Cambridge, Professor Thomas, director of the MAA, recently came across an interesting find in the University's Haddon library. He discovered a book that may have been part of Baron von Hugel's personal collection, entitled 'A Trip to the Highlands of Viti Levu, being a Description of a Series of Photographic Views taken in the Fiji Islands during the Dry Season of 1881'. Written by Gerrard Ansdell, F.C.S., the book was published by H. Blair Ansdell, London in 1882.
The project’s initial focus this summer will be research documentation of MAA’s Fijian collections in Cambridge, plus selected other collections held in museums in the United Kingdom.
Research, object identification and documentation have officially begun on the MAA Fijian collections. Dr Lucie Carreau is working with project volunteers, with assistance from SRU project personnel, to work through the museum’s stores and access all of the Fijian material.
The initial planning process has also begun for the project’s major exhibition, Fiji and the UK: Collecting and Colonial Encounters, which is slated to open in Cambridge in mid 2013.
Workshops and conferences will be planned and announced in due course as project research progresses.