Dr Katerina Teaiwa
Areas of expertise
- Pacific Cultural Studies 200210
- Studies Of Pacific Peoples' Societies 169905
- Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
- Pacific Peoples Performing Arts 190410
- Dance 190403
- Arts And Cultural Policy 160502
- Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) 210313
- Globalisation And Culture 200206
- Consumption And Everyday Life 200203
Katerina's main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. She focuses on the movement of Banaban rock and the complex relations created by the mining, shipping, production and consumption of superphosphate and ensuing commodities. She also studies the ways in which indigenous Banabans make sense of this history of double displacement in their new home of Rabi Island in Fiji. Her work is captured in Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba Indiana University Press (2015). Click this link and watch the book trailer on youtube.
Teaiwa's Banaba work inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of phosphate mining in the Pacific through Banaban dance. Renowned New Zealand sculptor Brett Graham also transformed Katerina’s research into a multi-media installation, Kainga Tahi, Kainga Rua, exhibited at the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington in 2003 and Moving Image Centre in Auckland in 2007. She worked with artists and researchers involved in the The Anthropocene Kitchen project to convert her book and research journey into a science comic book chapter-- see here. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
Katerina also writes on and has taught courses on popular culture and consumption, globalization, women's studies, contemporary Pacific dance, Pacific diasporas, visual ethnography, society and development, and theory and method for Pacific Studies. She is interested in the cultural, economic, environmental and political relations within and between island regions. She is currently a fellow with the Framing the Global project at the Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University and from 2003-07 was a member of the Islands of Globalization project team based at the East-West Center and Center for Pacific Islands Studies in Honolulu which connected the Pacific and the Caribbean through popular, policy and pedagogy projects. She has also worked on cultural policy and cultural industries in the Pacific charting projects developed through the Human Development Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and those shaped by UNESCO frameworks and conventions.
Katerina was born and raised in Fiji and is of Banaban, I-Kiribati and African American descent. She was convener of Pacific Studies in the College of Asia and the Pacific 2007-2015, Head of the Dept. of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies 2014-15, and Founder of the Pasifika Australia Outreach Program with Prof. Kent Anderson 2007-2012.
She has been a consultant with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and UNESCO on cultural policy, intercultural dialogue and sustainable development, and Austraining International and ANU Enterprise doing cross cultural and development training for the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development. She also has a background in contemporary Pacific dance and was a founding member of the Oceania Dance Theatre at the Oceania Center for Arts and Culture, University of the South Pacific. You can read an opinion piece on representations of Fiji and the Pacific in the media at ABC The Drum Unleashed, and in the Canberra Times and Fiji Times. An interview about her research is on the Commodity Histories website here.
In 2012 Katerina was elected President of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies and re-elected in 2014. She delivered a 2015 Keynote at the European Society for Oceanists conference in Brussels, the 2012 Keynote at ABC International's annual conference at the National Gallery of Victoria, and was participant and Rapporteur for the Australian Academy of Science Theo Murphy Think Tank on "Australia's Population: shaping a vision for our future."
Katerina is a research fellow in a Mellon Foundation funded project called Framing the Global. This is a research and publication program based at Indiana University's Center for the Study of Global Change in partnership with Indiana University Press. Her project titled "Indigenous Peoples and the Global Remix," explores the relations between regionalism, globalization, cultural policy, cultural diplomacy and performing arts festivals in the Pacific. Katerina completed research for the first phase of this project at the 2012 Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in collaboration with 16 ANU undergraduate, Honours, Masters and PhD students. Student's work will be featured in a publication commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Festival. Read "Five Questions with Katerina Teaiwa" here.
Katerina was an affiliate of Professor Margaret Jolly's ARC Laureate Project: Engendering Persons Transforming things: Christianities, Commodities and Individualism in Oceania (2011-2015). She was conducting research on mana, mass media, sport and the Pacific diaspora.
From 2011-2012 Katerina worked with the National Rugby League (NRL) Education and Welfare Office on Pacific Studies, Cultural Empowerment and Leadership for elite Pacific Players across 16 clubs in Australia and New Zealand. Katerina was on the NRL Pacific Advisory Council from 2011-2012 and her input involved working with the Education and Welfare Office to design, deliver and monitor the impact of a 3-day Pacific Studies Cultural Leadership Camp held in early 2012 in Sydney. Read more about this here.
Jade Aikman, Pacific Studies & GMCS, CHL - Critical terror studies in Aotearoa
Bianca Hennessy, Pacific Studies, CHL- Research on pedagogy in the field of Pacific Studies
Sherman Tan, Anthropology & Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, CHL- Consumption and Affect in Singapore
Karen Tu, Pacific Studies, CHL- Transformation of canoes on Orchid Island and Yap
Sidha Pandian, National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Dance Dialogues
Areti Metuamate, Pacific Studies, CHL- Biography of King George Tupou V
Nikki Mariner, History, CHL- William Mariner's legacy
Latu Latai, Pacific Studies, CHL- Samoan missionary wives in Melanesia
David Lakisa, University of Technology Sydney- Sport and Pacific Islanders in Australia
Bianca Hennessy, Honours Student- Gender issues in Melanesia
Phoebe Smith, Honours Student- Fiji Voyaging Society
Aiko Wendfeldt, Honours Student- South Sea Islanders in Mackay
Louise Yee, Honours Student- Chinese in Fiji
Marata Tamaira, Pacific Studies, CHL- PhD on Kanaka Maoli contemporary visual arts
Binod Chapagain, Anthropology, CASS- Gender and migration issues in Nepal