My research interests cover cultural, historical and of course geographical themes. I have longstanding interests in cartography and its history, Indigenous navigation and mapping, wayfinding and counter-mapping, including their psychology and neurology. My recent research has focused on cross-cultural encounters in galleries, libraries and museums. I am currently interested in history from below, with reference to family histories, and am writing biographies and historical fiction based on my research. I am also considering an in-depth theoretical and practical exploration of weaving as metaphor for cross-cultural encounters and history more broadly. I completed my doctoral thesis in 2021.
The thesis explores historic and contemporary cross-cultural encounters in a range of media and contexts through four case studies starting with James Cook's first Pacific voyage in the Endeavour in 1768-71, specifically the Endeavour's arrival at Tūranganui-a-Kiwa in Aotearoa New Zealand, with Tahitian navigator and 'arioi, Tupaia in October 1769. The second case study examines commemorations there from 1905 to 2019. This is followed by an analysis of exhibitions in London in 2018: James Cook: The Voyages at the British Library, Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts, and Pacific Encounters at The Royal Museums, Greenwich. The final case study looks at a documentary film of Tupaia's life by film maker Lala Rolls called Tupaia's Endeavour.
The thesis brings two approaches together: a spatial approach building on James Clifford's application of the 'contact zone' to museums, and a performance approach building on Diana Taylor's conceptions of archive, repertoire, and scenario. Its conclusions are in three parts: theoretical developments of its spatial and performance approaches, especially the scenario of encounter; practice developments for the gallery, library, and museum sector; and speculations on other applications and further research questions.
A chapter in the forthcoming book (October 2022) Tupaia, Captain Cook and the Voyage of the Endeavour, edited by Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, is based on elements of the thesis.
My previous extensive experience includes public and third sector project management, teaching geography and percussion, and garden design.